ArtsWork

The Kax Herberger Center for Children + the Arts

Keys to Icons

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Theatre Units

Directing

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Some key attributes that employers look for when hiring employees are communication skills, leadership ability, creativity, problem solving skills and the capacity to work well in groups. All good directors possess these qualities. The following projects introduce students to directing techniques and provide practical experience. Giving students the chance to direct makes them more aware of how the elements of theatre interconnect and appreciative of every person involved in staging a production.

Skills and Understandings
Students will be able to:

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Projects & Assessments

Script Selection

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Script Analysis to Concept

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Collage

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Ground Plan

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Creating a Promptbook

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Creating Pictures

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Silent Scenes

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Researching Directors

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Assessing Professional Work

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Blocking Scenes

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Description: This lesson gives students an introduction to blocking scenes and developing original ideas from a script.

Objectives:

Length: One 45 minute session

Materials: Scenes printed for every student

National Theatre Standards: Grades 9-12

Content Standard: Directing by interpreting dramatic texts and organizing and conducting rehearsals for informal or formal productions

Achievement Standard: Students (c.) effectively communicate directorial choices to a small ensemble for improvised or scripted scenes

Framing:

  1. Play Stage Directions
  2. Tell the class that they will be applying their knowledge of stage directions to directing.

Process:

  1. Give each student a copy of a 2-3 minute scene. (An open scene works well for this lesson. An open scene is one with basic dialogue that can be applied to multiple characters or multiple situations.)
  2. Working independently, have each student read the scene and brainstorm ideas for blocking. Each student should write down her ideas using the correct terminology.
  3. In small groups, have one student volunteer to block the others in her scene. The student director and the actors should score their scripts as they work.
  4. Present the scenes.
  5. Repeat so that all the students get a turn to direct.

Assessment:

  1. Talk about how blocking affects audience perceptions and how a scene changes with a different director.
  2. Assess group collaboration, initial brainstorm of blocking, scored scripts and presentations.

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Director's Scavenger Hunt

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Description: This lesson gives students an introduction to blocking scenes and developing original ideas from a script.

Objectives:

Length: Three 45 minute classes

Materials: Production photos from a variety of performances, copies of Trifles by Susan Glaspell, Internet access for each student

National Theatre Standards: Grades 9-12

Content Standard: Directing by interpreting dramatic texts and organizing and conducting rehearsals for informal or formal productions

Achievement Standard: Students (b) justify selections of text, interpretation, and visual and aural artistic choices

Framing:

  1. Show students a variety of production pictures. Prompt students to consider what the image conveys and what the director's concept may have been.
  2. Explain that the students will be working in small groups to analyze a play, conduct research and create a concept.

Process:

  1. Read Trifles as a class.
  2. Discuss the plot, setting, characters, structure, effects and style of the play.
  3. Divide the class into small groups.
  4. Each group should create a concept for Trifles. They will do this in three steps:
    1. Analysis: Using the class discussion, each group must identify the central issue of the play and state it in one sentence.
    2. Research: The group will use the Internet to research various aspects of the play including the time period, costumes, sets, playwright, past production history, etc. They will reconvene as a group to share what they have discovered.
    3. Concept: Using their analysis and research, each group will come up with a concept for the play paying attention to how this concept will be shown in the characters, costumes, sets, sound, etc.
  5. Present the concepts for Trifles. Each group should pitch their idea as if they were a production team trying to get a theatre board to agree to stage their project.
  6. Discuss the similarities and differences between the production concepts.

Assessment:

  1. Have each student write a reflection defending their group's choices and arguing for the selection of their production concept.
  2. Observe the level of participation during the group work, research and final sharing.
  3. Assess the final concept and the written justifications.

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