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The Director's Theater
ANY COMMUNITY which includes professional actors who have retired from the stage has the necessary directorial ability.
Preparation Through Study
SURELY NO ONE any longer believes that, through the study of this book or some other, or through a routine training and an experience in presenting plays, or through the acquisition of a knowledge of stage terms, methodology, and practice, a young man, even though he possesses a fine mind and an enthusiasm for the theater, can be transformed into a good director.
The Director And His Audience
FOUR FACTORS must be kept in mind as the director embarks, upon the actual labor of restating the printed play in stage terms.
The Director And The Play
The dramatist was not the first of the theater workers to appear; that honor belongs to the actor who preceded him by centuries.
The Director And His Stage
THE SUBJECT of stagecraft does not fall within the limits of our study; but since stages vary so much in size and equipment, we will say a few words about the stage in its relation to direction.
Studying The Script
THE DIRECTOR, after giving thought to his audience, his stage, and his potential acting material, has selected a play for presentation. He now has to choose his cast, work out the form for his production, and put the play into rehearsal.
The Form Of Production
At one time the director would have restated the play on a stage which was no more than a bare platform, using only spoken words and accompanying gestures in his restatement. Today he has something more than an unadorned stage and spoken dialogue with which to build his acted play.
A Note On Acting Fashions
WE ASSUME, without debate, that our production and its style of acting shall be the one accepted by the present generation. Before we take up the lengthy subject of the director and his actors, it may be worth our time to look at the present theater style and compare it briefly with styles of other days.
The Director And His Actors
WE COME to the most difficult work in directing: getting amateur actors to act. Even though audience and stage limit the director in what he can do, they do not impose serious restrictions on his imagination and creative powers; he is still free to work out a production agreeable to his own ideas.
Finding The Actors
EVEN AFTER YEARS of experience the director will make mistakes in casting. He will deceive himself about some prospective actor; he will mistake personality for acting ability, only to find, after two weeks of rehearsal, that the candidate he has chosen cannot act at all.
Getting The Actor To Act
FULLY half the directors avoid the work of getting their actors to act, either because they don't know any better or because they are unwilling to spend the time and labor this procedure demands.
Rehearsals
MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN on the subject of rehearsals, and much that has been written is good. These paragraphs do not pretend to add to the information on the subject al-ready in print; they do hope to emphasize several points to which our general plan of direction gives importance and to warn against arbitrary rehearsal schemes which are occasionally suggested in books and magazines.
The Third Week
WE REPEAT that many amateur performances, which have only the stage in readiness and the actors speaking and behaving in character with lines and stage business well memorized, are looked upon as complete.
Regaining Perspective
WE HAVE SAID that attention to details sometimes causes the actor to lose sight of the fresh attack he made upon the lines at the beginning; that the actor, like the traveler, loses sight of the forest because of the trees.
Elementary Technique For The Amateur
THE WAY in which an actor is to use his hands and feet, get on and off the stage, modulate his voice, or phrase a line to bring a reaction from a second actor is not instinctive with him. The director has to tell the actor how to behave on the stage and how to behave in an effective manner.
Directorial Resources
THE DIRECTOR chooses a play with reference to his audience, stage, and acting material; he casts the play; he plans a production, building up his scenes through the application of the principles of design; then he begins his four-weeks' rehearsal period, endeavoring to make his imperfect acting material express what he feels is necessary for a satisfactory interpretation of the play.
Values
BY GROUPING TOGETHER some of the mediums through which the director and his actors restate the printed play on the stage, and by ascribing to these mediums more or less definite values in the play as acted, the director may be able to approach his task with one more useful yardstick, with one more standard to help him in selection and creation.
Dress Rehearsal And Performance
SURELY OUR EXPOSITION of the director has not represented him as one who can loaf along during the rehearsal weeks and then, about the time of the first dress rehearsal, suddenly stir himself into energetic action and pull out of the unreadiness and chaos something resembling a smooth performance.
Theater Objectives
THE THEATER BELONGS to no one class. It is as much the legitimate property of amateurs as music is the property of a small choral society whose members have no intention of making a living through its practice.
Some Questions And Answers
Do I have to pay any royalty for this play if I don't charge admission to it.
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