Tips for Directing a Farce- Fast, Clear, Clean, and Articulate Equals Funny

The Guthrie production of Arsenic and Old Lace offered plenty of opportunity for comedy.

It’s interesting but farces, which should be hilarious, are often deadly on stage, and often it’s not the fault of the playwright. In fact, most audiences have witnessed some very fine farces given very poor productions, making them dull, slow,

Read More Tips for Directing a Farce- Fast, Clear, Clean, and Articulate Equals Funny

Stage Directing: Three Ideas on Theatrical Stage Dynamics, Part I

Les Miserables continuously uses stage dynamics to support the emotions, actions, and themes of the musical.

If you’re new to stage directing, there are some basic A-B-Cs of stage dynamics of which you should be aware. These dynamics, if used properly, will serve you greatly in staging a production. They did not substitute for the work

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Acting Exercise: Precision in Description with Adverbs

Adverbs

For many the adverb is dying a slow death. We hear it in its last gasps all the time when someone asks us to “drive safe,” rather than making the request in proper English, “drive safely.” In English, that “ly”

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Understanding Drama Through Script Writing: Three Exercises

There are various methods you can use to help students better understand a play.

There are many different ways in which instructors of all levels can help students better understand a play. Many times classroom instruction involves discussion, reading aloud, and writing a formal essay about some theme, character, or other aspect of the

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Stage Directors: Giving Actors an Environment for Success

Are you creating a positive environment for your actors?

Too often directors work against their actors rather than working with them by creating an atmosphere where they believe that they can succeed. Perhaps one of the most important attributes that a successful director possesses is the ability to instill

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3 Stage Directing Tips to Use When You’re Stuck

There are simple ways for director's to solve problematic moments.

It happens to every director whether they’re a neophyte, a mid-career professional, or a sage veteran. At some point in time, you will find yourself stymied by the fact that you can’t seem to connect with an actor on a

Read More 3 Stage Directing Tips to Use When You’re Stuck

Three Quick Playwriting Exercises that Get Results

Getting students writing quickly can garner solid results and development.

If you’re teaching playwriting, you may be frustrated or perhaps a bit anxiety ridden about ensuring your writers can actually create scripts. In other words, many who teach playwriting for the first time find that they have difficulty in getting

Read More Three Quick Playwriting Exercises that Get Results

Public Speaking and Theatrical Techniques

When speaking keeping your audience interested is essential.

Many of us assume that powerful public speakers are simply born with a natural talent for effective presenting. While it is true that some people are better oral communicators than others, anyone can draw on theatrical techniques to improve their

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Camp Can Do: Assistive Technology Meets a Broadway Favorite

Camp Can Do The Lion King

Think about all the thoughts you’ve had today. You’ve probably thought to yourself about how hungry you were at lunchtime. You might have come up with a list of things to do in your head or a list of groceries

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Themes Revealed and Utilized in The Miracle Worker by William Gibson

Helen Keller.

In an earlier post on The Miracle Worker, we looked at the relationship between Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. Thematic discussions and explorations when analyzing a play like The Miracle Worker can also be helpful when attempting to connect a play’s characters, actions,

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Making Media Work for Performers: An Interview with Joel Zayac of the American Repertory Theater

Joel Zayac at A.R.T.

Overseeing and directing media for a controversial and preeminent regional theatre in New England that makes historical and political statements translates into a lot of Starbucks for Joel Zayac. Sitting at his huge Mac computer in the corner of the graphic

Read More Making Media Work for Performers: An Interview with Joel Zayac of the American Repertory Theater

The Miracle Worker: The Relationship Between Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller

The Miracle Worker Character Study

Though most viewers consider The Miracle Worker to be about Helen Keller, William Gibson wrote the play as a tribute to her teacher, Annie Sullivan, and to her struggles in helping Helen understand language. Annie’s relationship with Helen is displayed

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The Major Theatrical Unions in the U.S.

Seeing a show on Broadway or at another professional theatre? Then you will be watching a show created by union employees.

If you are working in the professional theatre in the U.S., you may end up joining one or more of the various theatrical unions, or you may interact with union members. There are numerous theatre unions or professional organizations. There’s

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Any Theatre Student or Practitioner Wanting to Grow

Looking to have a great 2015? Read on.

If you’re someone studying theatre arts, you should certainly be focused on getting better at what you do. If you’re in the business, you should be doing the same. Improvement and growth are essential to your being employed for the

Read More 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Any Theatre Student or Practitioner Wanting to Grow

Playwriting: Can You Be Taught to Write a Play?

Do you want to write plays?

One of the common questions you often hear about writing in general and playwriting in particular, is can it be taught? Can a playwright really learn to write for the stage by taking courses in the subject? The answer is

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The Actor’s Dilemma: What Young Actors Need to Learn, Part II

Actor training and being casr

Many young actors live and die, or seem to, on the posting of the next cast list for either their college or conservatory production. After all, it’s not like being in the professional world where there are hundreds of casting

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The Actor’s Dilemma: What Young Actors Need to Learn- Part One

The cast list is up!

If you teach acting on any level and it is related to production and casting plays, then you know that when the cast list goes up there’s bound to be elation, disappointment, anger, and jealously, as well as many other

Read More The Actor’s Dilemma: What Young Actors Need to Learn- Part One

Theatre History: A Discussion of Challenges and Remedies, Part II

An active theatre history class can stimulate discovery and discussion.

  In Part I of our three-part series on teaching theatre history, we considered some of the basic challenges that are involved in bringing and delivering what can be a very daunting curriculum to students. There are a lot of

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Theatrical Training and Professionalism: The Power of Being Actively Curious

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There’s something to be said for being curious, especially in an artistic profession such as theatre. By “curious” I mean not just wanting to know something, but being driven to find the answer, no matter what roadblocks arise. Perhaps its

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5 Behaviors or Actions Guaranteed to Hurt Your Theatre Career

Being positive right from the start is important.

You worked for a theatre company, for a producer or director, or with a group of creative people and you have not been asked back to work with them again. You don’t know why. No matter what you do to

Read More 5 Behaviors or Actions Guaranteed to Hurt Your Theatre Career

Theatre as a Profession: When’s Your Next Interview or Audition?

Will you work hard and go for it?

Too many times those who are just breaking into the theatre don’t understand how important it is to always act in a professional manner. In this and our next blog, we’re going to consider various aspects of the business as

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The Importance of Planning and Setting Goals for Theatre Students

Ready to set some goals and create a plan?

If you’re a theatre student studying at a college or a conservatory, there are certain keys that will help you achieve success in becoming a professional in the field. How do you become a working theatre professional? The same way

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Theatre: It’s the Human Element

Understanding the human element in a play or musical is key to finding meaning.

Theatre is an art. Although theatre is an art, it’s an art that thrives on connecting directly and immediately with audiences on various levels, including intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. However, at times, it seems as though the theatre intimidates students,

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An Actor Must Prepare: A Checklist for Student Actors

Are you ready for rehearsal?

If you’re an actor who is new to the stage, and you get cast in a show, you may start rehearsals feeling very unprepared. Often when this happens, an actor will show up for rehearsal and as the day progresses

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Theatre Students have to Be Open to New Ideas and Failure

How good are you? How good do you want to be?

Too often high school and college theatre students want the answers now. In other words, they want to know if they are any good at what they do, when they will finally be accomplished, and what the secrets to success

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Long Island Kindergarten Show Cancelled for College Prep Test: Why This Makes No Sense

Interim Principal Ellen Best-Laimit.

It was reported by many news sources, and it made headlines when the principal of the Harley Avenue Elementary School in Elmwood, which is located on Long Island, cancelled the annual kindergarten variety show. Why was it shutdown? This was

Read More Long Island Kindergarten Show Cancelled for College Prep Test: Why This Makes No Sense

Theatre History: A Discussion of Challenges and Remedies, Part I

Can you connect your students to theatre history?

In teaching theatre history on the university level to undergraduates, we’re often challenged by feeling the need to relay a mountain of facts that students tend to fairly boring, overwhelming, and inconsequential. Along with the historical information are our primary

Read More Theatre History: A Discussion of Challenges and Remedies, Part I

Teaching Directing: Two Different Approaches and Finding a Balance, Part II

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In Part I, of Teaching Directing: Two Different Approaches and Finding a Balance, we focused on the benefits of having directing students work from the outside in. That is, focusing on text, directing skills and techniques, and proper interpretation of

Read More Teaching Directing: Two Different Approaches and Finding a Balance, Part II

Of Mice and Men: Discussion Topics for the Classroom, Part 3

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< Theme of Powerlessness The characters in Of Mice and Men are powerless due to various circumstances. For instance, Lennie, although he is employed as a ranch hand due to his physical strength, he is powerless because of his mental

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Of Mice and Men: Discussion Topics for the Classroom, Part 1

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The renowned story Of Mice and Men, based on the 1937 novel by John Steinbeck, is returning to the Broadway stage in April 2014. Of Mice and Men (which is required reading in many schools) is based on Steinbeck’s own

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Teaching Directing: Two Different Approaches and Finding a Balance

Director insights are essential, but where should they come from?

There are various ways to teach directing to students. (That is, if directing is really something that you can actually “teach.”) Directing tends to be filled with challenges, as the stage director has to understand a script in its entirety,

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The Fantasticks: History and Themes for Classroom Discussion, Part 3

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Romantic Fantasy in Moonlight, Cold Reality in Daylight Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt named Act I of The Fantasticks “In the Moonlight” (due to its romantic mood) and Act II “In the Sun,” which is where the audience witnesses what

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The Fantasticks: History and Themes for Classroom Discussion, Part 2

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The Process Tom Jones collaborated with J. Donald Robb on a musical adaptation of Les Romanesques from 1954 to 1956 as Harvey Schmidt was in the Korean War at the time. They originally titled the musical Joy Comes to Dead

Read More The Fantasticks: History and Themes for Classroom Discussion, Part 2