Why Does a Bad Dress Rehearsal Mean a Great First Night?

Why Does a Bad Dress Rehearsal Mean a Great First Night?

Did you know that there’s an old theatrical tradition that if the Dress Rehearsal is terrible that the First Night will be great?

From my experience, it’s actually true! I’ve had terrible Dresses that lead to great performances, and of course, sadly, I’ve had vice versa too :S

Turns out that it’s actually just a matter of mathematics – well, probability to be precise. You see, it’s something called Regression to the Mean.

It says that if the first time you measure something that the measurement is extreme, then the next measurement will be much closer to the average. And so if the second measurement is extreme, then the first will be closer to the average.

So this means that if the Dress Rehearsal is terrible, the First Night is much more like to be tons better. And sadly, vice versa is true too. If the Dress Rehearsal is phenomenal, then the First Night is statistically unlikely to be as good.

Who knew it was just a matter of probability?



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