We finished rehearsal for the play last night. Full dress rehearsal with lights, sound, props, etc. Tonight we have paying guests.  This is my second production this year. I have to say that I have not been yelled at this much since third grade (or grad school). But rather than being thin skinned about it, I have taken it fairly well. It has been a positive personal growth experience, which is the point of it all.

The best advice yet has been “be a better listener” on stage. If you are present in the moment on stage, you can better cope with the inevitable slip ups and mangled or omitted lines.  Rather than spending your time thinking about your next line, try to be part of the flow. If somebody drops a cue line, you’re better able to improvise a line to steer the dialog back on track.

This is good advice in general. Like many people, in conversation I find myself thinking about what I’m going to say next rather than really listening to the person I’m conversing with. This is a bad habit and reduces conversation to a comingled set of monologs or pronouncements of opinion.

The other bad habit that seems to get worse with age and education is the tendency to answer the question you wished someone had asked rather than the one actually asked. This is an irksome and possibly incurable condition of mine that those around me suffer from. Participating in staged dialog has had the effect of causing me to be more aware of this.