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The Director's Toolkit


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Table of Contents

Contents Preface Acknowledgments Introduction - What Is a Director? Background The Director in the Production Process The Function of the Director Approaches Director vs. Acting Coach Qualities of a Good Director The Production Process A Final Thought Further Exploration PART I - The Script Chapter 1 - Script Selection Script Selection Process Sources for Play Scripts Understanding and Obtaining Performance Rights Relationship with the Playwright Contractual and Ethical Obligations Preparing a Production Book Play Selection Checklist Further Exploration Chapter 2 - Understanding the Play: Script Analysis Understanding the Play Determining and Understanding the Spine of the Play Identifying the Dramatic Structure of the Play Dividing the Script into Working Units Analyzing the Play Determining the Style of the Play Script Analysis Format Outline of Script Analysis Format Further Exploration Chapter 3 - Research Leading to a Concept Analysis to Research Production Research Period Research Background Research Character Research Playwright Research Style Research Final Thoughts on Research Intrinsic and Extrinsic Interpretations of the Play Historical and Social Implications in Interpretation of the Play Developing a Production Concept for the Play Research Leading to a Concept Checklist Further Exploration Chapter 4 - Style What Is Style? The Origin of Theatrical Styles Modern Theatrical Styles Determining the Style of the Play Style vs. Mode Determining the Mode for the Production Further Exploration PART II - The Production Staff Chapter 5 - Working with the Production Staff The Role of the Designers The Director's Relationship with the Designers Contributions of the Designers Collaboration Directing the Design Areas Production Meetings A Final Thought Further Exploration Chapter 6 - Working with the Stage Manager The Stage Manager's Role in the Production The Stage Manager's Functions The Care and Feeding of Your Stage Manager What the Stage Manager Is Not Further Exploration PART III - Auditions and Casting Chapter 7 - Auditions Purpose of Auditions Types of Auditions Procedures for Auditions Planning for the Audition The Use of Callback Auditions How to Improve the Quality of the Auditions Methods for Keeping Notes on the Actors Director's Decorum Audition Checklist Sample Audition Procedures Sample Audition Form Sample Audition Worksheet Further Exploration Chapter 8 - Casting The Importance of Casting Decisions Criteria for Cast Selection The Process of Making Casting Decisions Nontraditional Casting Understudies Changing Your Mind Casting with Other Directors Casting Worksheet Further Exploration Chapter 9 - Scheduling for the Production Planning The Production Calendar The Rehearsal Calendar - Preplanning vs. Daily Schedules Planning the Amount of Time Needed Phases Establishing Goals for Each Rehearsal Presenting the Production and Rehearsal Schedules Final Thoughts Scheduling Checklist Further Exploration PART IV - Floor Plans, Stage Pictures, and Blocking Chapter 10 - Developing the Floor Plan The Director's Relationship to the Floor Plan Understanding Theater Architecture and Its Implications for the Production Working with the Scenic Designer on Developing the Floor Plan Types of Floor Plans (Patterns of Scenery) Meeting the Needs of the Script Using the Floor Plan to Focus the Audience's Attention Mark Antony's Funeral Speech Creating Visual Interest Using the Scenic Axis Balance Suggestions for Improving the Floor Plan Using Key Scenes to Develop or Evaluate the Floor Plan Drawing the Floor Plan Floor Plan Development Checklist Further Exploration Chapter 11 - Creating Stage Pictures What Is a Stage Picture? The Process of Developing Stage Pictures Developing a Stage Picture for Ile Summary Final Thoughts Stage Picture Checklist Further Exploration Chapter 12 - Blocking Preplanned vs. Organic Blocking Purpose for Blocking Principles of Blocking Using Blocking More Effectively Keeping the Blocking Motivated Blocking Pitfalls to Avoid Using Props Planning, Recording, and Communicating the Blocking Blocking Checklist Further Exploration PART V - The Rehearsal Process Chapter 13 - Working with the Actors Developing a Relationship with Your Actors Types and Functions of Characters Understanding the Actor's Process Communicating with Your Actors Working with Actorisms Further Exploration Chapter 14 - Rehearsal Techniques Planning for the Rehearsals Organization of the Rehearsals Keeping Rehearsals on Task Giving the Actors Notes Keeping Muscle Memory in Mind Rehearsing Scenes Involving Violence Acting Exercises to Address Particular Needs Rehearsal Organization Checklist Further Exploration Chapter 15 - Rehearsal Challenges Challenges vs. Problems Situations Summary Problem Solving Checklist Further Exploration Chapter 16 - Tempo, Rhythm, and Pace The Director's Relationship to Tempo, Rhythm, and Pace Tempo Rhythm Pace Uniting Tempo and Rhythm to Create Pace in the Production Technical Implications on Pace Tools and Considerations for Building the Tempo, Rhythm, and Pace of the Production Pace and Energy Tempo, Rhythm, and Pace Exercises Final Thoughts Further Exploration Chapter 17 - Polishing the Play The Function of the Polishing Rehearsals Polishing the Acting Implementing the Technical Aspects into the Production Technical Rehearsals without the Actors (Dry Techs) Technical Rehearsals with the Actors (Actor Techs) Dress Rehearsals Staging and Rehearsing the Curtain Call Final Thoughts Further Exploration Chapter 18 - Evaluating the Production Why Conduct an Evaluation? Evaluating the Production External Sources of Evaluation Combining All Sources of Evaluation Production Evaluation Further Exploration PART VI - Additional Topics Chapter 19 - Directing Nonrealistic Styles (Styling the Production) Identifying the Style Conventions of Styles Directing a Presentational or Nonrealistic Style Determining the Mode for Nonrealistic Styles Matching Your Directing Style to the Style of the Play Examples of Working in Styles Other Than Pure Realism Greek Theatre Shakespeare Comedy Further Exploration Chapter 20 - Directing Musicals Understanding the Difference Between Musicals and Straight Plays Additional Collaboration in Musicals Working with the Music and Choreography in Developing the Characters Additional Considerations in Rehearsals for Musicals A Word About Working with Musicians and Choreographers Further Exploration Chapter 21 - Directing in Alternative Settings Recognizing How Directing in Alternative Settings Differs from Proscenium General Guidelines for Directing in Alternative Settings Directing in an Arena Configuration Directing in a Thrust Configuration Directing in Other Configurations Touring Further Exploration Chapter 22 - Directing in an Educational Environment The Director as Teacher Understanding the Goals of Educational Theatre Understanding the Role of the Educational Director The Relationship of the Director with the Cast and Staff Working in the School Environment Further Exploration The Next Step Appendix A - Sources for Play Scripts Appendix B - Plays, Films, and TV Shows Referenced

About the Author

Dr. Robin Schraft is a Professor of Theatre at Drury University. His commercial career includes work as a director, designer, and stage manager in New York, summer stock, national tours, and Branson, Missouri. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), where he served for many years as the Vice-Commissioner for Computer Applications for the Lighting Commission of the Institute. He also served on the committee that wrote the current national recommended practices for stage lighting graphics.

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