Waltzing Mechanics

Chicago's Home for Documentary Theatre

Line One - Live Callers

With some insight on rehearsing with live callers, ensemble member Christine Worden: Christine WordenDuring past this week we began to run full-length “practice shows” using a to-the-minute schedule with live callers. This exciting addition required all actors and directors to be engaged for a full 70 minutes. These practice shows mimicked show conditions and allowed us to identify some of the challenges that could arise during our performances.

Line One is a verbal collage, so often the audience will be hearing several voices at once. Sometimes these voices will be inaudible, overlap, or interrupt. Often when given a prompt, the speaker will answer the question and pause for a few minutes to think. It’s these moments of silence that are particularly fun to channel.  If you watch carefully, you will see actors embodying these silences, remaining engaged even when the person on the phone has run out of things to say.

Another challenge that we have faced is the inevitable unreliability of cell phone reception. Occasionally, a call will not come through. At these times, the onstage directors will adjust (and sometimes scramble) to cover the time lost in our tightly-planned show. When a call does come through and the signal is poor, the channeler is still required to repeat verbatim whatever she hears through her earpiece. Every burst of static and bit of word fragment becomes a part of the verbal collage.

While these technical snafus may initially seem frustrating, it is our job in Line One to simply accept what comes through our earpieces. Everything is exactly as it should be!