Why You Should Never Explode During Rehearsals

Sweat and Tears

Working in the performing arts, we are used to operating under high pressure, coping with unforeseeable situations and often dealing with difficult people. This stress rises enormously from a relaxed first day to the hectic last minutes before opening a show. Additionally, we tend to suffer more from sleep deprivation, lack of energy, and reduced focus towards the end of a creation period. However, our primary goal should remain to never – and I mean never – explode at anyone.

Is it “cool” to shout at someone?

For some team leaders – directors, dance captains, or stage managers – it has become a habit to shout at their associates. This shall not only underline the significance of their point but also demonstrate their “higher” position. Yelling at people, additionally, is often used to show that we care and we are giving our very best for achieving high quality. Unfortunately, this attitude results in the opposite direction.

What about respect and creativity?

When we lose our temper, we also lose people’s respect. On a short-term, the team might knuckle under and do what they are asked to. But from a long perspective, they will also stop offering their very best. Instead of fighting with a dominant character, our partners are likely to reduce friction points in terms of personal input, creative ideas, or problem-solving proposals. They will tend to distance themselves emotionally from their opponent and offer not more than minimal participation. This attitude is merely a safe way of staying out of trouble.

It affects everybody

This kind of creative retreat usually applies not only to the members who are yelled at but just as much to the rest of the team. By exerting aggressive behavior, one creates a general climate of fear within the team. Other people in the room will just as much start to expect that they are turned against in the same way and, consequently, stop integrating their full expertise.

Consequently, no matter how stressful a production might be, we cannot risk letting the positive atmosphere slip away through a sudden moment of rage. The basis for any team’s success must be to pace our energy reserves, retain a constructive atmosphere and, most importantly, stay calm and focused. Your colleagues will soon enough discern the quality of a consistent partner.