Blocking Notation and Rehearsal Reports

Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate their knowledge of blocking notation in a script and how to write a rehearsal report by creating these for a hypothetical show.


Materials needed:

• YouTube clip from show that you have given students the script for
• Rehearsal Scenarios
• Rehearsal Reports
• Set layout to give students to tape in their prompt books


Facets of Understanding:

• Explanation
• Application
• Perspective


Enduring Understandings:

• A stage manager needs to be able to provide the director and the actors with the information they need at a moment’s notice
• Preparation and organization always will help


Essential Questions:

• As a stage manager, what do I need to know and have at my disposal to be successful?
• What qualities do I have that are good for a stage manager?
• What qualities do I need to develop to be a good stage manager?


Hook (15 minutes)

Show a YouTube clip from a show that has a large amount of blocking in a scene (a good choice would be Noises Off: ( Ask students to take out a piece of paper and write down all of the blocking they see. After students have attempted this, ask them how the experience went. Were they able to write everything down? Why not? How can we make this easier on ourselves as stage managers?


Step 1: Instruction and Practice (15 minutes)

Tell students how to write down stage blocking notation (abbreviations, using a set layout, numbering in a script, etc.). Have students watch the clip again, but this time using their newfound skills. Once students have done this, ask them how much easier it was, and why. Answer any questions students might have about blocking notation.
Give students the link to the clip of the show that they are working on. Tell students that the blocking in the clip is to be the blocking notation they put in their prompt books and will be part of their final.


Step 2: Lecture/Practice (15 minutes)

Hand out the rehearsal reports sheet, and ask students to listen to the following scenario:
It is Tuesday, March 25th 2014, and the director has decided to rehearse Act I Sc II rather than Act II Sc III. Sally was late to rehearsal, but the other four actors were on time. Rehearsal started two minutes late, and ended three minutes over. The director wants the actor, Jim, to roll on the floor in the scene. Another actor, Sam, has been told to work with a pipe, and the director wants Sam to be able to put it into his pocket. Judy is supposed to cry in this scene, and Grant is supposed to react to rain outside of the house.
Once you have read this to students, ask them what they wrote down on their rehearsal reports. Was it thorough? Did they catch everything? What about things that happened in rehearsals that affect several departments?
Have students read the blocking notation and rehearsal report section in the SM packet, or, if you area short on time, have them simply look at the examples in the appendix.


Step 3: Group Practice, Assessment (15-25 minutes, informal worksheet)

Once students have grasped the concept of rehearsal reports, separate them into teams, and hand each team a rehearsal report. Tell students that you will tell them a few more rehearsal scenarios. The group with the most comprehensive rehearsal report is the winner.


Material Example:

Saturday, May 22, 2015. Rehearsal was scheduled from 9:00 to 1:00pm, but the director was fifteen minutes late, which delayed rehearsal. All actors were on time. The planned material was rehearsed that day (Act II Sc I), but during the rehearsal of the dance, Grace sprained her ankle which delayed rehearsal and required a run to the E.R. The director let the rest of the cast go an hour early because of the interruption. During the rehearsal, the director decided that he wanted a lighting special on Daxton during his solo in the middle of the dance number. Regina also came up to you letting you know that her grandmother passed away yesterday, and that she wouldn’t make rehearsal Tuesday because of the funeral.


*You can create more rehearsal scenarios that include more or less than the two outlined above. Go through as many rehearsal scenarios as you want in order to solidify learning and give teams a chance to write more than one rehearsal report.