Put students into groups of three. Have each group write down as many elements or phases to a rehearsal schedule (things that they will do in rehearsals for a production) as they can in two minutes. These phases/elements can range from auditions to character work to final dress rehearsal. Once the two minutes is up, stand at the front of the room and begin going through the elements listed by the students and writing them on the board. Have each group share one element at a time. If that element is included on another groups list, they must cross it off (ala Scattergories). At the end of the “element sharing” the group with the most un-crossed off elements “wins.” You should have a list of rehearsal elements on the board.
Transition – Now put the list of various elements on the board in a sequential order (simply put a number in front of the element to designate its order). You can either work forwards from auditions on or backwards from opening night. The middle elements can be in whatever order the class determines. Your list may look something like this:
Auditions Callbacks Cast Meeting Read-through Blocking Run-through Working Run Stop-and-Go No Stop Run Off-book Character Work Working props Dry Tech Add costumes Add makeup/hair Final Dress Run Opening Night
Discussion – Have the students open up their textbooks to page 181. Have someone read the quote by director Margaret Webster: “My schedule—how I use my time, how much time I devote to each phase of rehearsal—is one of my most valuable tools.” Ask the class why this statement is so important. Some answers might include: so you don’t waste time, so you’re prepared for each rehearsal, so there is a purpose to each rehearsal, etc. Skim over the next few pages (through p. 187) with the class and talk about the rehearsal management ideas presented there.
Instruction – Assign the class to create a rehearsal schedule for their play. Guide the students to determine what the time frame is that they will be dealing with. The students should include the dates of rehearsals with specific times listed, what type of rehearsal (the phase/element) it will be, and a note of the specific characters that will be rehearsed. But before you give them time to create their schedules…
Group Practice – in the same groups as the hook activity, have the students each choose one of the attached content-less scenes and get two copies of it. Rotating them every five-eight minutes, give them each time to direct the blocking in their chosen scene with the other two actors in their group. The scenes are extremely short, so less than ten minutes should be enough time for each director to establish a setting and a few basic movements.
After the rehearsal time is up, have the group decide which of the three scenes they would like to perform for the rest of the class.
Checking for Understanding – Have the groups perform their scene. The audience should comment on the blocking of the piece and point out specific moments where movement contributed to the feeling of the piece.
Instruction – Teach the students that they should begin thinking of the movement of their one-act plays. They need to start visualizing how the play will be blocked and where characters will be interacting on stage. To help them begin this process, assign the students to write in basic blocking and movement in pencil directly in their script. They can use Chapter Seven in Directing Plays as a resource to determine their staging and blocking choices.
Individual Practice – Give students the rest of the class period to work on their rehearsal schedules and blocking. Float around to help students in their work.
Students can be assessed through their performance in the directing blocking exercise and their progress in creating a rehearsal schedule and blocking their plays.