Those infamous words that signal the true beginning of the rehearsal process: After the first read-thru (trendily spelled with only a 'u'), everyone gets on their feet and suddenly we "see" walls that aren't there, props that aren't there, fake sound Q's (more trendy spelling), and we begin to see the Vision blossoming on the director's face. A wonderful moment.
"You know what we need.."
"You know what it is, it's..." said while leaning in to get my attention.
"You know what it should be? One of those things with..." ...and a description of the ideal prop, or costume, accompanied by various hand gestures to help describe the object. From random furniture and tape marks on the floor, the show has already begun to transform.
Usually the heaviest scenery and prop note-taking session is during the first rehearsal as the kinks are ironed out and everything becomes 3-D in everyone's mind.
Second only to that vision of the creative process is being able to watch the actors still playing, exploring, morphing into the madness and brilliance to come. I love early rehearsals especially because I can still watch the hilarity unfold without having to be on book. The best is to see them throw in some unexpected dialect, twitch of eyebrow, double-take... any action or reaction that stops a scene in its tracks until our surprised laughter dies down. Whether the action is kept or not is hardly of consequence. It keeps the spirit fresh.
And all that under the drone and flicker of half burnt-out flourescent lights in a windowless room under the roar of an enormous, dusty heater.
You just can't beat that.