The work done on a play before the first rehearsal, the first group reading or even the before the cast have met, can be crucial to the success of a production. Directors and dramaturgs must know how to analyze, understand and interpret a play or performance text if they hope to bring it to life on the stage.
This book provides a broad range of tools and methods that can be used when reading a text, including:
Lessons from the past. What can we learn from Aristotle, Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Vakhtangov, Brecht and Harold Clurman? This section establishes the models and methods that underpin much of a director's work today.
A survey of current practices in Western theatre. A combination of research, interviews and observation of practical work addresses the main stages in understanding a play, such as getting to know characters, sharing ideas, mapping the action and grappling with language.
A workbook, setting out twenty one ways of breaking down a play, from the general to the particular.
Contributions, reflections and interjections from a host of successful directors make this the ideal starting point for anyone who wants to direct a play, or even devise one of their own. This wide range of different approaches, options and techniques allows each reader to create their own brand of play analysis.
Forward by Anne Bogart Introduction Lessons from the past Aristotle Konstantin Stanislavski Vsevolod Meyerhold Yevgeny Vakhtangov Bertolt Brecht Harold Clurman A Survey of Current Practices Digging into the Script on Your Own Reading the Play for the First Time Moving Past First Impressions Going beyond the Words on the Page Preparing for Design Meetings and Casting Sessions Sharing your Read on the Play Discovering the World of the Play Getting to Know the Characters Gearing up for Rehearsing with Actors Grasping the Given Circumstances Mapping the Action Grappling with the Language Reading a Play without a Script: Notes on Devising What do you start with? What are you analyzing? What is a play? Workbook Chapter The First Steps in Preparation Getting Ready to Talk to Designers Getting Ready to Cast the Play Getting Ready for Rehearsal Checking Your Handle on Structure A Final Gut Check Appendices Character Biographies French Scenes: List Version French Scenes: Chart Version Director Breakdown Moment Chain Streetcar Punctuation Write Up The Tempest Punctuation Write Up Bibliography List of Interviews Biographies of Interviewees