Directing Actors: Creating Contagious Confidence in Performers

Directors can help actors gain confidence by giving them their undivided attention.

Acting is not an easy job and just about any actor, no matter what their level of training and accomplishment may be, has insecurities that can undermine their success. One of the things that a director can do is instill

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Teachers Can Help Student Actors Create a Positive Self-Image

Hairspray offers insights into body issues.

Over the years, I’ve found that many student actors at the high school and college levels have a very difficult time with their self-image, especially in terms of their physicality. Exactly what they are troubled by depends upon the individual.

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Script Analysis Basics for Students: Understanding the Play and Plot, Part Two

Analyzing backstory and given circumstances helps one understand the society and relationships.

In Part One of this four-part series, we defined formalist script analysis and discussed the importance of utilizing this interpretative too in preparing for production. It is an essential tool for directors and other artists, such as designers and actors,

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Script Analysis Basics for Students: Understanding the Play, Part One

Daniel Craig, 
Rachel Weisz
 and Rafe Spall rehearse the recent successful Broadway revival of Betrayal by Harold Pinter.

Formalist script analysis for production is an important skill for directors, designers, and actors to master. Although each approaches analysis a little differently, there are foundation elements that everyone in the theatre shares when it comes to analyzing a script

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Directing the New Play: Some Tips on Working with Playwrights

Directing a new play offers various challenges.

Directing a new work for the stage can be an exciting, interesting, and overwhelming experience. There are specific challenges that come with the new play process that simply are not associated with established works. The fact is the first time

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What Every Student Actor Needs to Know About Being Professional

Are you ready to be an actor?

If you’re a student actor who is serious about being a professional, there are a few things of which you must be aware to succeed. Actually, there are more than a few, but this blog will offer you 5 basic,

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Do You Need a Big Show to Give Students a Rewarding Theatre Experience?

A big show like Marat/Sade offers young theatre artists a lot of opportunity.

In this article, we’ll focus on theatre training and working with students of just about any age. The title of this piece is a clear indication of the question at hand. Should doing a big show, one with a lot

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University Training: A Theatre Student’s Checklist for Finding the Right Program

Theatre schools

It’s that time of year for high school seniors interested in theatre who are looking to find the right college. College application time! If you are a high school student interested in the theatre or a drama teacher or guidance

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Stage Directing: Allowing Actors to Use Physical/ Emotional Distance

Physical and emotional distance between mother and son in William's The Glass Menagerie.

If you direct students at any level, community members, and/or professionals, you want to give them all the power they possibly can possess on stage. However, many times directors undercut their actors without realizing they are doing so. Often this

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Stanislavski Method: Magic If and Illusion of the First Time

In a long run, actors have to keep their performances fresh and in creating their characters they must discover as much as possible about them.

In teaching acting two important concepts that are connected to the Stanislavski method or system are the Magic If and the actors need to create the Illusion of the First Time. Understanding the Magic If can help an actor make

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Teaching and Learning: Bringing Students Together with Theatre Artists

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Bringing students together with theatre professionals can be a rewarding experience for students, teachers, and theatre artists. Professionals who work with students tend to do so because they enjoy engaging with and teaching those who are enthusiastic about and/or interested

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Teaching Acting: Using Stanislavski’s Three Questions

Three actors playing their objective (Death of a Salesman).

In teaching acting or working with student actors on a show there are some basic techniques that should be stressed in regards to how to create a character that is actively engaged on stage at all times. An important technique

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Broadway Study Guides and the Class Trip

Study guides can shed light.

If you’re a teacher taking a class to see a Broadway musical or play, you may want to utilize a study guide. Broadway study guides can be helpful to teachers. There are a range of study guides available for free

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Working with Student Actors: Geometry Can Help Them be More Effective On Stage

How can you add variety in staging?

If you are a teacher or drama director working with school students, then you have your work cut out for you. When directing a school or after-school play with those in primary or secondary grades drama directors must spent a

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Directing Students Actors- Opening Up Your Student Actors

Is it fun?

When working with young actors in a primary and secondary school setting drama teachers and directors can find that it’s a major chore to get them to open up to an audience. Often young actors will work against themselves on

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Theatre & the Classroom: Theatre History, Literature & Les Misérables, Part Two

Les Misérables289

In the classroom, teachers can focus on numerous topics in relationship to Les Misérables. In Part Two of our consideration of Les Misérables, we’ll look at a few of the many areas, themes, and subjects that you can investigate with

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Theatre & the Classroom: Theatre History, Literature & Les Misérables, Part One

Les Misérables165

Teaching Les Misérables in the classroom offers educators the chance to include a range of diverse subjects. Plus, with the return of Les Misérables to Broadway in 2014, a hit movie version of the musical, the book, and many other

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Advanced Directing Technique: Insights for Actors through Storytelling, Part II

Directors need to help actors connect.

In the first installment of this two-part series on Insights for Actors through Storytelling, I discussed why and how I developed this directorial technique. We also considered the foundation elements that are a part of this directing method. It’s interesting

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Teaching Lorraine Hansberry’s Classic Drama A Raisin in the Sun

Playwright Lorraine Hansberry..

A Raisin in the Sun premiered on Broadway on March 11, 1959. To the surprise of many, the play became a huge success, earning four Tony nominations, the New York Critic’s Circle Award for Best play, and running for two

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Advanced Directing Technique: Insights for Actors through Storytelling, Part I

Storytelling helps actors relate to the script, their characters and other characters.

Over the years I’ve directed my share of professional and university productions. Recently, I was working on a production of Steel Magnolias. It was an Actors Equity production and all of the actresses were professionals, many with more than 20

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Classroom Teaching: Theatre, Subtext and Understanding Plays

Understanding subtext allows actors to make connections.

When teaching a play written in verse you find that overall the characters say what’s on their minds. Shakespeare, Sophocles, Racine and others don’t utilize what we call subtext. But when dealing with plays written from around the time of

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Creative Drama for the Classroom: Side Coaching Actors

classroom

Why Side Coaching? Side coaching is the process of giving directions to actors while they are playing a scene. Acting students love side coaching, becomes it forces them to think on their toes. They have to instantly take on whatever

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The Dynamics of Classroom Playwriting and Reading Aloud, Part II

Play writing offers various challenges.

In the first part of this two part series, we discussed some of the benefits of playwriting in the classroom, how teachers can get basic playwriting training and how to use playwriting exercises when teaching. Plays by their very nature

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Playwriting Exercise: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Playwriting

It’s not uncommon for writers to observe people in everyday life and get ideas for characters and even entire plays. This playwriting exercise offers 30 pictures of 30 different people. The assignment is to create a play creating and using

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The Dynamics of Classroom Playwriting and Reading Aloud, Part I

Playwriting in the classromm, theatre arts and teaching

Why Dramatic Writing and Reading? Playwriting can be a useful tool in active learning, especially if you take the stance that plays are meant to be heard and seen and not simply read silently by individuals. Just about any subject

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Basic Playwriting Exercise: Character Conflict

Playwriting

This is a simple playwriting exercise designed to get students writing dialogue and creating conflict on stage. As it is with all exercises, there are rules for this one. Sometimes students will protest the fact that there are rules for

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Directing Exercise: The Sound of Music

Directing Exercise: The Sound of Music

This is a great group exercise for advanced high school students or college students. The exercise refers to each group creating a set. The elements used are whatever happens to be handy such as rehearsal blocks, chairs, benches, some hand

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Directing Exercise: Objects in Space

Directing Exercise: Objects in Space

The Objects in Space exercise is not about creating a playing space for actors. It is about learning to create an interesting, dynamic space that captures and holds the viewer’s attention. Directing students are divided into groups of four or

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Matilda The Musical Bullying and Positive Messages for Girls

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In the musical Matilda, Matilda's father is a horrifying bully. He belittles her and is billigerent. Bullying is an important and challenging issue for schools, children and teachers. Those who suffer from the wrath of a bully carry scars for years

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A Photo History of Cinderella: Coming to Broadway in 2013

cinderella-horse

The Broadway premiere of the musical Cinderella is slated for early 2013. Here is a photo history of past TV productions of this wonderful Rodgers and Hammerstein show. The First Cinderella: Julie Andrews The 1956 Broadway premiere of My Fair

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