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The Director's Toolkit

Book Description

The Director’s Toolkit is a comprehensive guide to the role of the theatrical director.

Following the chronology of the directing process, the book discusses each stage in precise detail, considering the selection and analysis of the script, the audition process, casting, character development, rehearsals, how to self-evaluate a production and everything in between.

Drawing on the author’s own experience in multiple production roles, the book highlights the relationship between the director, stage manager and designer, exploring how the director should be involved in all elements of the production process. Featuring a unique exploration of directing in special circumstances, the book includes chapters on directing nonrealistic plays, musicals, alternative theatre configurations, and directing in an educational environment.

The book includes detailed illustrations, step-by-step checklists, and opportunities for further exploration, offering a well-rounded foundation for aspiring directors.

Table of Contents

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