A script can be read, like any written piece, and enjoyed, but different than a novel or blog, it is meant to be performed. Shakespeare and Sam Shepard are wonderful writers and alot can be learned from just sitting, reading and studying their work, but like song lyrics without the music, you are only getting a portion of what they are meant to be.
One of the first steps towards performance is the read-thru. All the actors, the director and occasionally a few crew members attend. Usually, it's the actors first chance to meet one another. We had our read-thru of Cold December last Sunday. It went very well. During read-thrus actor's can occasionally focus to much on the script. Getting the lines right is important, more so in theatre than film were dialogue can be more flexible, but at this early stage you also want to establish a connection with your fellow actor. Look them in the eyes, take your time, listen. I thought, since Chris, the director Brian and I had worked together, we had extra confidence to make some stronger choices during the read. He's the lead, so he spent more time connecting. I play one of his wacky friends, so I get act like an idiot to get a laugh. Between Chris's honesty and my jackassedness we struck a good balance. Slowly, everyone started taking their eyes off the script. We had fun, the director was happy and I think we will have fun.