The Rehearsal

The Rehearsal is a six-part docu-drama cum reality show, written and directed by Nathan Fielder. In this series, Fielder explores the lengths he will go to reduce the uncertainties of everyday life. With a construction crew, a legion of actors, and seemingly unlimited resources, Fielder allows ordinary people to prepare for life’s biggest moments by “rehearsing” them in carefully crafted simulations of his own design. Now that the series has been renewed for a 2nd season, the question to be asked is – Is The Rehearsal worth binge-watching?

Well, it depends. If you want a reality show that breaks conventions to provide unique scenarios than The Rehearsal is the series for you. In the first episode, Fielder assists Kor Skeete to “rehearse” for a potentially tense situation where Kor will confess a lie about his educational qualifications to a close friend. The attention to detail that Fielder will pay in order to recreate the conditions in which Kor may find himself in is amazing. That first episode was fascinating and promised much for the rest of the series.

However, with the 2nd episode onwards, Fielder becomes obsessed with “rehearsing” for parenthood. Thus, he enlists Angela, a single woman in her 40s, to be the ‘mother’ in this project, while engaging several child actors to play “Adam”, the pretend son of the equation. Originally, the project was pitched as a means by which Angela could figure out whether she would ever want to be a mother in real life but during the course of the project, Fielder personalises the project so much that he plays the fake Dad in the equation!

This is where perhaps The Rehearsal somewhat loses its way as Fielder himself cannot at times separate truth from fiction and his thoughts and emotions get entangled with the project. Angela’s devout Christianity also creates obstacles for the Jewish Fielder. There is certainly drama and tension produced – whether intentional or not – and this can either be engaging or annoying depending on one’s perspective.

However, in the final analysis, it may be argued that this conflict is what makes The Rehearsal worth binge-watching. At about 30 minutes per episode, the entire series might be easily watched in about 3 hours. If nothing else, the series offers certain psychological issues that deserve thinking about. Recommended.

Now streaming on HBO Max.

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