Beyond the


Tuesday Tip: Dress Rehearsal & Crisis Management


A full Dress Rehearsal for families and friends might seem stressful but it has many benefits.

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  • It gives the team an early deadline to get projects finished with time to fix them.
  • It allows the team’s judge (and family members/friends who cannot travel to the tournament) the chance to see the team’s performance.
  • It gives the team a safe, supportive audience to practice their theatrical skills.
  • It provides an opportunity to get a good picture of the team in costume and with their creations.

Schedule with Time to Spare

If the membership has more than one team, schedule the rehearsal together at least a week in advance of the tournament. After the rehearsal, the team can watch a video recording to see how they look and sound and make their own revisions. Coaches and parents should not give constructive criticism. That would be outside assistance. They can tell the team what they liked and how proud they are with everything the team created by themselves.

Practice Like the Tournament

Have the team start to one side of the performance area with all of the team and set pieces behind a taped line. Introduce the team and ask, “Team are you ready?” The team can practice giving an enthusiastic, “Yes!” or come up with some other fun, creative, short response. Then say, “Team you may begin.” This is when time officially begins and the team should move their set pieces into position and start their performance. The performance CAN be shorter than 8 minutes, but in some problems, time will be called at 8 minutes, or at 9 minutes with an overtime penalty. The audience should give the team a big round of applause, no matter how well the team did.

Take and Send a Team Picture

A slideshow is created for each of the Qualifying Tournaments and shown before the Awards Ceremony and later posted on YouTube, after World Finals in May. We ask that coaches send 1-3 pictures of the team posed or in action. Send the picture(s) in large jpg format to Please include:

  • Membership Name
  • Problem Number and Division
  • Qualifying Tournament Number or City

Tournament Info

If the tournament schedule has been posted by the time of your rehearsal, you can print and distribute tournament maps and reminders of when and where the team should meet. All family members should know the Problem Number in which their student is competing. Primary teams do not have a number, they are the letter P on the map and family members can ask for the Primary problem.

Murphy’s Law: Whatever Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong – Be Prepared!

An Emergency Repair Kit is something that every Odyssey of the Mind team should bring to the tournament. The team should be involved in what goes into the bag/container and how to use those items. The repair kit can even be brought into the performance area at no cost on the Cost Form (if it is not used on purpose during the performance).

Before the Performance

Plan for the team to arrive at the tournament one hour before their earlier time (Long-Term or Spontaneous). This allows for traffic delays, and to fix any props/items broken during transportation. Teams will need to put together any set pieces that were taken apart for transportation, fix any items broken, apply makeup and style hair by themselves. Only team members can help other team members.

Ask the team: What tools / items do they need in the Emergency Repair Kit for all of this? Adults are allowed to pack and move the team’s supplies from their vehicles to the meeting place where the team puts pieces back together or fixes them.

During the Performance

Discuss as a team, what would you do if… this doesn’t work, this prop was left behind, etc. In some cases, there may be time available to fix an item and attempt a task again. But the team should prepare when to move on, not worry about those
points lost, and try to earn the points from other parts of the performance.

Ask the team: What can you do to prepare for these possible mishaps? This might be more mental preparation, rather than adding items to the Emergency Repair Kit.

A Sick or Absent Team Member

This may or may not have come up already with rehearsal(s), and something to prepare the team mentally for.

Ask the team: What will you do if (this team member) is sick or absent?

Keep Your Sense of Humor

With all of this preparation of things that could go wrong, the team should be able to overcome any obstacle with the attitude that “It could be worse.”

Good luck! And remember to HAVE FUN!