The students will demonstrate their directing skills by creating a director’s book and directing a one-act play of their choice.
The Directing Unit is to be used in an advanced-level theatre class with ninety-minute class periods.
PRIOR STUDENT EXPERIENCE:
It is expected that students will have experience with acting techniques such as blocking, objectives, and tactics as well as a knowledge of script analysis, interpretation, elements of a well-made play, and basic production design elements.
1994 NATIONAL STANDARDS:
Content Standard 3: Designing and producing by conceptualizing and realizing artistic interpretations for informal or formal productions.
Content Standard 4: Directing by interpreting dramatic texts and organizing and conducting rehearsals for informal or formal productions.
Content Standard 5: Researching by evaluating and synthesizing cultural and historical information to support artistic choices.
Content Standard 2: Acting by developing, communicating, and sustaining characters in improvisations and informal or formal productions.
script analysis, production design, acting objectives and tactics, director’s concept
LESSON 1: Introduction to Directing EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their understanding of a director’s criteria by choosing a one-act play to direct. ASSESSMENT: Students can be assessed through their participation in the discussions, their director’s criteria responses, and their chosen script.
LESSON 2: Script Analysis EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their ability to take on a director’s point of view by analyzing a script. ASSESSMENT: Students can be assessed by their responses to their play’s predominant element and brief analysis. They can also be given a score for bringing two copies of their script to class.
LESSON 3: Director’s Concept EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their ability to create an artistic vision for their play by developing a director’s concept. ASSESSMENT: Students can be assessed through their participation in the discussions and through their partner spineline statements.
LESSON 4: Production Management EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their understanding of production management by designing and discussing production elements. ASSESSMENT: Students can be assessed on their dramatic metaphor/viz presentation and can also be graded on their progress with their poster design and use of practice time during the class.
LESSON 5: Technical Considerations EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will establish their technical considerations by designing and displaying their technical production design choices. ASSESSMENT: Students can be assessed through their mood presentations and their research progress.
LESSON 6: Creating a Rehearsal Schedule EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their knowledge of rehearsal management by creating a rehearsal schedule and basic blocking for their play. ASSESSMENT: Students can be assessed through their performance in the directing blocking exercise and their progress in creating a rehearsal schedule and blocking their plays.
LESSON 7: Working with Actors EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their ability to audition by participating in a cold-reading mock audition. Students will also demonstrate their ability to mark action beats by scoring their script. ASSESSMENT: Students can be assessed through their Midsummer analysis and participation in the mock auditions and directing exercise.
LESSON 8: Presentation of Plays EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their synthesis of a director’s preparation by presenting their director’s book. ASSESSMENT: Students can be assessed through their Director’s Book presentation and their voting sheet.
This unit is written to help students develop a director’s book for a one-act play of their choice. You may need to add a workday in order for the students to complete some of the requirements for their books. Or perhaps you will want to divide a lesson up and give them two half-days to work on their requirements.
It is intended that after the unit is complete, student directors will be chosen to practice and apply what they have learned about directing. This can happen in a student-produced “Night of One-Acts” or some other performing venue. Other students can serve as assistant directors, house managers, technical crew, etc.
The following texts are used in this directing unit: A Sense of Direction by William Ball; New York: Drama Book Publishers, 1984. Directing Plays by Stuart Vaughn; New York: Longman Publishing Group, 1993. (my school owned a classroom set of Directing Plays, so each student in the advanced class was able to check out a textbook for the duration of the unit)