Rehearsed, Or "Off-The-Cuff"? Why It Makes A Difference In A Live Event Production

Posted on: 23 October 2017

Live event productions can be approached in one of two ways. First, you can rehearse the event at least a couple of times so that it is an entertaining event that does not get the entertainers hurt. Second, you do not rehearse, and you can just go "off-the-cuff" or ad-lib everything. Here is more about these two approaches and why choosing one over another can make a big difference in your live event production.


Ballet dancers often get three days to learn an entire ballet before they perform it. That said, the dancers might rehearse it up to ten times before the show actually starts. Often, it is much less than that so that the dancers do not wear themselves out before opening night. The result is that the first show might experience a few bumps, but the audience will never know it. The dancers make the mistakes look like part of the show.

If your actors or musicians are able to do the same, then rehearsing just a couple of times before the event is fine. It helps everyone get to know the stage on which they are performing and also prevents accidents and injuries during the show because the performers know right where to walk and where to land (if applicable).

Improv, Ad-Lib, or "Off-the-Cuff"

Whatever word or phrase you use, this type of entertainment is completely spontaneous. A total lack of rehearsals gives rise to a lot of mistakes. However, if the type of live show you are doing is supposed to be really funny, then this approach to a live show is perfect. Of course, there does have to be some sort of structure, skit, or entertainment plan so that the show still grabs the audience and makes them want to stay to see what is next.

This approach also works for slapstick comedy, magic tricks, acrobatic stuff, and a few other variety acts. Taking that into account, you may just want to do a variety show. With little practice and rehearsal time, you can throw together an improv show in less than 24 hours and still have a show that people want to see.

Purely Music Live Events

Live events that are purely music actually fall under both of the above approaches. They are the only type of live show that does. This is due to the fact that your musicians will choose, usually at random, which songs to play or sing. Sometimes they take requests, making the show more improvisational than rehearsed. Then they rehearse to put some songs in order while taking others out. If you are doing just music, expect to roll with the flow of both of the above approaches.


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