In A Theatre or Opera House
In theatre, a performing arts ensemble rehearses a work in preparation for performance before an audience. Rehearsals that occur early in the production process are sometimes referred to as run-throughs. Typically a run-through does not contain many of the technical aspects of a performance, and is primarily used to assist performers in learning dialogue and to solidify aspects of blocking and stage movement.
A Q-2-Q or cue to cue is a type of technical rehearsal and is intended primarily for the lighting and sound technicians involved in a performance, although they are of great value to the entire ensemble. It is intended to allow the technicians and stage manager to rehearse the technical aspects of a performance—when lights have to be turned on, sound effects triggered, and items rolled on and off the stage—and identify and resolve glitches. Performers do not typically rehearse entire scenes during Q-2-Q's, but instead only perform dialogue or actions that are used by the stage manager as a marker for when to initiate technical sequences or cues (hence the title). Abbreviated Q-2-Q's in which only the opening and closing sequences of each act or scene are performed is sometimes referred to as tops and tails. It is rare for any but the most technically complex performances to have Q-2-Q rehearsals outside of technical week.
Cue to cues are often preceded by a dry tech, in which the technicians rehearse their cues without the actual performers present at the rehearsal. A dress rehearsal is a rehearsal or series of rehearsals in which the ensemble dresses as they will dress at the performance for the audience. The entire performance will be run from beginning to end, exactly as the real performances will be, including pauses for intermissions. An open dress is a dress rehearsal to which specific individuals have been invited to attend as audience members. They may include patrons (who pay a reduced ticket price), family and friends of the ensemble, or reviewers from the media. The dress rehearsal is often the last set of rehearsals before the concert performance and falls at the end of technical week. A preview, although technically a performance as there is a full audience; including individuals who have paid for admission, is arguably also a rehearsal in as far as it is not uncommon in complex performances for the production to stop, or even return to an earlier point in the performance if there are unavoidable or unresolvable problems. Audience members typically pay a lower price to attend a preview performance.
In traditional Japanese Noh theatre, performers primarily rehearse separately, only rehearsing together once, a few days before the show. This is to emphasise transience of the show, in the philosophy of "ichi-go ichi-e", "one chance, one meeting".
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