Understanding the ScriptRead the play.Or hear the play from its source by having the playwright read it to you. Unplug the telephone, don’t answer the door, just sit and read it through. At the end make notes or comments, very simple ones... “Opening a bit
boring.” “Don’t get the bit about the will.” “Last bit very moving.”Take a break and read it again.This time let yourself wander: Think about the look of it, the sort of actors you’re going to need, whether the problems you saw the first time round are solving themselves.If you have any choice, try to fit the designers to the work.A production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters designed by Francis Bacon might be fun, but it probably wouldn’t help the cast or the audience any.Don't finalize the designs too early.You’ll always be pressured by the workshops, but hold them off as long as possible. Your ideas will certainly change as you get to know the play better.Read each character's part through as if you were playing it.Skip the scenes you are not in and concentrate on your own lines. This often gives you a more vivid idea of the character and helps in casting.Don't overstudy.“I know every word of this text by heart” is a favorite director’s boast, but it can restrict your imagination. It’s the actor’s job to remember his lines, not yours. Sometimes just guessing how a scene goes can make you think more freely.
Russell Reich (Author)
Russell Reich is a writer, creative director, and coauthor of Notes on Cooking and Notes on Teaching. He is a former visiting artist-in-residence at Harvard University, artistic associate at the Circle Repertory Company in New York, member of the Circle Rep Director's Lab, and founding artistic director of the Holmdel Theatre Company. He lives in New York City.
Frank Hauser (Author)
Frank Hauser was a drama producer for the BBC and formed the Meadow Players at Oxford. He was director of the Oxford Playhouse for 16 years, during which many of his productions were subsequently seen in London and New York. An accomplished pianist and translator, he has also taught and directed at the British American Drama Academy, Colgate University, the Julliard School, and the University of California–Davis. In 1968, he received the award of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.).