- Use a pencil to underline or otherwise mark an area
where the actor has made a mistake. Make additional notes
so that you're clear about what was or wasn't done.
- There's usually no need to say anything the first time
it happens unless the actor or director asks. If the actor
doesn't make the same mistake for a rehearsal or two,
erase the mark.
- If the actor makes the same mistake again during the
next rehearsal, mark the page with a sticky note and let
the actor know at the end of rehearsal. (Discuss how this
will be done with the director prior to the actors being
out of book.) When the actor then corrects the mistake
at the following rehearsal, simply erase the mark. It
can always go back later.
- One thing to watch in particular is the accuracy of
cue lines-those lines immediately preceding another actor's.
These need to be as accurate and consistent as possible
to ensure that the other actors know what line is next
and if it's their turn to speak.
- Be prepared for a little grief-this particular bookholding
duty does not make you a popular person! Nobody likes
having their mistakes pointed out to them, even when they
know it will help them improve. Be tactful when giving
notes. Remember, it's easy for you, you're reading the
- You will probably find that in spite of the grumbling,
most actors appreciate knowing what lines were problematic
during rehearsal. Most of them know their problem areas
and like knowing exactly what they are doing wrong. Actors
especially like to find out that the only reason they
messed up was because someone made a mistake before they
- On the other hand, you are there to help, not to be
abused. If an actor is taking your notes in a less-than-graceful
manner, talk to the director.
- Many actors paraphrase to some extent. Discuss this
with the director beforehand to find out how they feel
about this and if he/she wants this brought to the attention
of the actors.
More Ways to Help Out