So, I spent Thursday at the Wolfblood production office, for the cast read-through. Seems like a weird thing to do, gathering your cast round a table and reading through the first couple of scripts, but actually, read-throughs fulfill some vital functions.
Firstly, they provide an opportunity for everyone to meet the cast – and in this case, since one or two casting decisions went right down to the wire, for the cast to meet each other! Then there’s the rehearsal opportunity it provides for the actors. As they work their way through entire scripts for the first time, they can get a feel for how their character thinks and speaks. One actor’s performance influences another. Relationships emerge. The humour of a line, or the subtext, comes out in response to another actor’s take on the scene. The groundwork is laid for the eventual performance.
The read-through also allows the script, or at least the dialogue sections, to be timed, for a final check that it isn’t running too long. And it gives the writers a chance to see the actors in action – which enables them to make any last minute dialogue changes to the first few scripts, and to work on those scripts which are still being written with some knowledge of how the characters are being played.
And, let’s be honest, they give the writers a chance to swan around feeling important, and then sit there with a silly grin on their faces, thinking “Hey, I wrote this! And look, real actors are actually saying my lines!” And what’s wrong with that?