With a week and a half left until opening night, things are starting to kick into high gear. At this point, expectations for rehearsals are pretty consistent: we run the show stopping only when absolutely necessary, saving any corrections for the note session afterward. It was mildly surprising, then, when after our usual long, hot Sunday rehearsal, Philip announced that in a departure from the schedule, we would spend the next two days working the show, one night per act.

I’ve never had a stop-and- work style rehearsal this close to opening—typically rehearsals at this point are progressively engineered to simulate show conditions as best is possible—but I found these two nights to be incredibly, necessarily productive.

The last time we worked through the show, it was much less developed. The past few weeks of exclusively straight run-throughs have allowed the work we put into the show so far to solidify. The actors know their blocking, lines, and intentions, and consistently running through the entire show without stopping brings out the arcs of the actors and of the show itself.

Now that the show is more developed, working through each act, bit by bit, meant that we could pay attention to the moments that were too specific to deal with earlier on, but too complex, finicky, or delicate to be solved in the past few weeks by a simple verbal note. We could add bits that we expected would develop naturally but didn’t; we could fine-tune dynamics that are almost there, but not quite.

Working the show when it is this thoroughly developed, as opposed to at a more fledgling phase, introduced a host of new possibilities for improving the show. Those two rehearsals accomplished so much that they felt practically electrifying.

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