Before beginning the unit, it is important for the teacher to know strategies on how to carefully select a play; choose actors; how to effectively choose the cast; use of rehearsal technique and suggestions for keeping it all simple, creative, and fun. Organization is the key to using time and effort wisely. Knowledge of blocking, cues, backstage jobs, sets, lighting, sound and special effects, make-up, props, costuming, and promotional tactics, as well as the job of director and assistant director will help to plan ahead through spelling out the responsibilities of each person involved.
The job of the director is to map out the flow of traffic on-stage. He/She must decide on entrances, exits, crosses, and all other movements of the actors on stage to bring all the elements together. The director must read the play several times and plan how it is to be directed. The idea or concept of how the play should be done is called the directorial concept. Certain questions need to be asked. What actors are to be chosen? What scenery, music, costumes, and props will contribute to one main idea? What kind of set will be needed? The next important point in preparing for a play is the choice of cast members. Casting a play is not easy even for most experienced directors. Professionally known actors are easy to cast. However, amateur actors need to try out for a part before the director knows where she/he will be most effective. When auditioning actors, directors should pick scenes which show different sides of the character. The scenes should be read ahead of time, and should be picked out according to scenes that five a good indication of the role. In order to learn needed strategies and stage technique refer to
On Stage! How to Put on A Play
, by Patricia Sternberg.
The next step is to find out where the play will be put on. Certain plays lend themselves to certain stages, and some plays can be done more easily then others. The cost of putting on a play must be considered as well. Expenses may run on copies of scripts, posters for advertisements, tickets, programs, props, costumes, music, lighting, and make-up. Funds will have to be requested, contributed, and earned with fund raisers. Students can raise money by giving bake sales, hotdog sales, and candy sales. Parent involvement in education is also and important factor. When parents and teachers work together parents have the chance to carry out activities that will enhance the experience of their children while helping to bring up the morale of the students in the whole school. When parents work together in a school the foundation becomes stronger.
Now it is time to consider the third element necessary for putting on a play; the audience. When choosing a play, think about who the audience will be, making sure that the play is appealing. In order to charge admission to the play the actors have an added responsibility to please the audience. But that is not all. Of course no one wants to put on a play that will not interest anyone. So we must find a play that can be talked about, understood, and is fitting for the audience that will attend.
Four basic questions should be asked before a play is set into motion. * Who are the performers? * Where will you perform the play? * What play will you do? * Who is your audience? Once these decisions are made it is possible to go on with the play with a good percentage of success in your pocket.