The only way to see the value of a play is to see it acted. -Voltaire Directing Plays, One -- Dramatic Text
2008 -- I teach Dramlit & Script Analysis and, if you know to deal with text, go there [ ]

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The biggest problem with directing students that they are not ready for this class... They did read enough, they have to dream-projects, no background in art, music and son on.

It is a big deal problem.



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[ 0 ] THR331 * Directing: Laws, Rules, Principles * Topics : Stage Event = Subjective Time + Dramatic Space * * [ 1 ] *

TOPICS: drama + comedy + postmodern + time + space + show + spectacle + audience + theory + public +
* Genre is a term that describes works of literature according to their shared thematic or structural characteristics.
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Broadway tickets at TickCo. Get the best available Mary Poppins tickets as well as tickets to Wicked and Disney's High School Musical tickets.

Stage Directing Theory
Directing Theory: pre-text, text and super-text
Text - DIRECTOR - Actor = Mr. in Between : Servant of Two Masters
Do you know to understand the text? Did you hear about the Idea of Deconstruction? Analysis is nothing short of de-construction. We can do nothing with the text until we take it apart. It has to be disassembled properly in order for us to construct new original, our texts -- performance. You can't skip this stage of deconstruction of the written text, if you are about to act it out. And guess what? Drama asks for it. Open any play -- do you see how this type of literature is organized? Repetitions of the characters' name -- what for do we have to put their names next to their lines, when it's a scene between two and I know, who's saying what?

Do you see?

Play organized through stoping our reading process. It's full of intentional gaps, breakes; they are to be filled in by the stage...

Film Directing 101
Method for Directors?
Directing ONLINE

Showcase: Part V
event = in-progress = live

GeoAlaska: Acting, Directing, Theory, Shows, Books
GeoAlaska: Theatre & Film

Click-Bookmark Theatre w/Anatoly
KEY TERMS: Glossary

DVD: Drama & Art House, Studio Specials & Classics, New & Future Releases, Cult Movies

We do not offer Advanced Acting II and Advanced Directing (replaced with the senior thesis); contact your advisor.

THR121 Fundamentals of Acting or permission of instructor -- requred for THR331!

Theory of Spectatorship
theatre books
Directing Showcases
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan 2003: Director's Book
prof. Anatoly Antohin Theatre UAF AK 99775 USA
2004: Sign * guestBook * View
THR215 DramLit
my eGroups

"Whos This Text Anyway?" Foucault

Plays Page

* Spring 2002 Class *

Script Analysis Directory & DramLit
Craft + Art



Featured Pages: Film Directing ...

1. The Emergence of the Director: Helen Krich Chinoy (1)

The moment director meets with the play the concept must be present (overall artistic direction of the future production). If you are to direct anything, the first question will be WHY? Hamlet? What is your "reading" of the story, what is your interpretation? The show is a product of many, why should they be involved? There must be a good reason for this long and expensive (budget) process. Without everybody in your cast and crew being inspired by your VISION, there is no point even think about production. Directorial concept is the basis for their visions -- actors and their roles, designers...

"Meyerhold is the only Russian director (regisseur) who instinctively feels the theatrical. In his general search for truth Stanislavsky brought the truth of life to the stage. But Meyerhold removed the true feeling in the tehatre... The prfect work of art is eternal. but only then does a work of art exist when content, form and material are in perfect harmony. Stanislavsky could find harmony only in the moods of the society of the time. Not everything of the times is eternal, but eternal is always of the times. Meyerhold cannot feel tomorrow; he can only feel today. But one should be able to feel tomorrow and tomorrow in today." Eugene Vakhtangov

Playscript Analysis
Acting One is required for this class, but honestly, I would require a few more courses -- DramLit, Playscript Analysis, Theatre History....


Acting One
Fundamentals : BioMethod
2003 new: 2004 * 2006-2007 * 2007: blocking * textbook * *


Play Analysis Points

1. First impressions: notes of reactions to play on initial reading, including images, colors, etc.

2. Research: Summarize the most important insights you have gained from your research into your play. Discuss specifically how your research findings will influence your interpretation and/or production of the play. List sources consulted (in bibliographic form).

3. One-sentence statement of action (root action/significant action).

4. Structural Analysis: identify and briefly discuss inciting incident, each major complication (in order), major crisis (turning point), major structural climax, major emotional climax, resolution. Give enough detail in your analysis so that the reader can identify the point in the play that you are talking about and why you consider this the inciting incident, etc. For complications, note the effect of the complication on the action.

5. Brief discussion of theme. State theme clearly and support your choice of theme with evidence from the play.

6. Brief discussion of style of the play. What choices are you making about style for your production? Why?

7. Spine of the play--identify and discuss briefly.

8. Character Analysis--Biography.

9. Motivational Units: Break your scene into motivational units and number/name the units. Present this portion of the analysis in promptbook format, with starting and ending points of each unit marked; unit analysis should be on page facing page of text.

10. Discuss any particular directorial problems posed by the play and the scene.

and the NOTES: biblio, references & ect.


Take 1st Quiz


Two types of stage directions: One is the "actor direction," which aims specifically at one actor and consists of line readings and reactions ("Laughing," "Frowning," "In a flat voice," "Hesitantly," and so forth).

The second category is more broad "production information," which also can be called "stage direction." Here you find descriptions of the environment (furniture, props, lighting, costumes, and the like) as well as character relationships and descriptions (age, clothing, and so forth), scene and act divisions, entrance or exit information, sound effects, and more.


Chekhov Anton Chekhov

* 3 Sisters: showcase *
* Uncle Vanya
* Cherry Orchard
* Seagull
* one-acts
* monologues
* scenes +


Directing overview

FRENCH SCENE - A scene division within a play marked (as in French drama) by the entrance / exit of an actor. These divisions can be useful in splitting up rehearsal schedules, and for marking lighting changes etc.


Stage Direction & Actors:

T. Williams A Glass M.

"The Wingfield apartment faces an alley, and the fire escape is the entrance. The landing and the stairs descending from the fire escape are visible to the audience and the interior of the ground floor apartment is visible through a transparent curtain that acts as a fourth wall to the room. The room closest to the audience is the living room with a fold-out couch, an old fashion whatnot with a collection of tiny glass animals, and an enlarged picture of a smiling man in a World War I doughboy hat. The picture hangs on the back wall of the living room just to the left of the dining room entrance. There is also a typewriter keyboard chart and a shorthand diagram hanging next to the picture, above a typewriter that sits on a stand against the wall. The dining room, which is where the first scene begins, is behind a second transparent curtain.

In each scene, various images and captions are projected from behind onto a wall between the living room and dining room. The wall itself is indistinguishable from the rest of the room when not lit with the projector. These images and phrases are used to emphasize the important parts of each scene so that the weight of the objects doesn't encumber the dialogue of the play. Music is also used to give emotional emphasis to certain actions and moments throughout the play. The tune that plays is a recurring one, faintly heard during the relevant parts as if it's on the breeze, dissipating with shifts in the wind's direction. The tune is delicate, lovely, and somewhat sad. It carries with it the feeling of the precariousness of delicately spun glass: beautiful and easily broken. It is Laura's music and plays clearest when she, or the fragility of glass, which is her image, is the play's focus. The lighting is an important tool in the presentation of the play; the stage is dimly lit, and bright light focuses on Tom, the narrator, or another character, only when they are presenting an important memory to the audience."

Dramatic Structure:
Lesson 1: Themes
Lesson 2: Main Theme-Thought
Lesson 3: Major Dramatic Question
Lesson 4: Exposition
Lesson 5: Inciting Moment
Lesson 6: Rising Action
Lesson 7: Crisis
Lesson 8: Climax
Lesson 9: Falling Action

amazon: play analysis

"PLAYWRIGHTS AND DIRECTORS COLLABORATION - A one-semester course that introduces playwrights and directors to the art of collaborating on a new play, exploring the boundaries between literary work and theatrical reality. For the director trained in working with existing texts, this course focuses on how a director helps discover and reveal anew, often fluid and volatile world, as well as practical experience in how to mount a staged reading of a new play. For the writer, the course concentrates on how one productively works with others to effect the transformation of a script from page to stage."
from Playwright's Horizons NYU

script (new)


Directing Index * Part I * Part II * Part III * Part IV * Part V *
* Thr w/Anatoly * 200 Aesthetics * Acting * Script * Books * Film Directing * Theatre Theory * Write * Spectator * Classes * Plays * Students * Virtual Theatre * FILM-NORTH * BioMechanics * SHOWS * Bookmark vTheatre! METHOD Acting for Directors * HAMLET * Mailing List * Anatoly's Blog *


The most important thing you can teach actors is to understand plays. --Stella Adler
See the Script Analysis directory first. This is a gateway page for Part I subdirectory (Aristotle "Poetics").

Lesson I : Director & Directing (Artist & Manager)

Lesson II : Comedy (Mikado), directing genre and concept

Lesson III : Dramatic Composition, Plot

Lesson IV : Character

Lesson V : Idea

Lesson VI : Visualization and Physicalization Meyerhold
Master-Teacher: Meyerhold
His monologues and scenes in my class
M. thoughts
Laws & Rules

Definitions for the terms are @ 200X Aesthetics

Point of Attack: remember that every story and its characters has a history. The problem is to decide where in that history to begin telling the tale:

|<-------STORY HISTORY ------->PofA =|<------THE PLAY------>|
Dramatic Conflict draws from a much deeper vein, rooted in the Subtext of your central characters. It's driven by fundamentally opposing desires.

... and climax

Directing, Acting, Thr w/Anatoly

Part I: Plays
Part II: Actors
Part III: Stage
Part IV: Public
Part V: Hamlet, showcase

Spring 2003 Textbook: Director's Eye (read part 3. Chapter 11-14)

Discovery and Images, The Rehearsal Unit, Rhythms and Scoring, The Concept Statement, Scenes from "Waiting for Godot"

Use scenes from Don Juan in class!

"Film Technique": Rehearsal of Units

[ Film Directing ]

Folks, there are two (maybe four) places where I continue to dig those directing issues: Theatre Theory, DIRECT directory, The Book of Spectator and Virtual Theatre. I won't be able to touch Film Directing pages until I teach the class again. How to follow the updates? Subscribe to my mailing list.

Well, I keep gearing to theatre majors, i.e. actors and directors. What do we study drama for, if not for practical applications? Read Ibsen? Must see directing it? Read Brecht? Take notes. If you are lucky, one day you would use them. Read Shakespeare? How do you read it, if you don't have pix in your mind? If you do not want to direct the play you read, don't read it.

If you see a show you like, get the script. If you don't want to, you are not a director. I (re)direct everything I see. Good, bad -- shows, movies... UYou have to be "turn on" 24/7, my friend. They say man thinks about sex every seven seconds... you have to direct even more often. Directing is matter of mind; everything else is to follow. Simple, very simple.

Look at the webpage you read right now -- what do you think I do? Writing is directing. Layout is directing. Pix, colors, lines, fonts -- everything is directing. Read the stage directions in modern plays: do you see how writers try to direct you? Yes, yes, you, directors! Actors too -- buit who are actors, if not solo-directors? Each actor is an instrument in the orchestra, you are conducting.

Do you know how to read a play? Seriously, not to "read" -- but read as a director?

If you don't know how to dance with playwrights, forget the rest (part 2, 3 and so on). Play is you first chance to fall in love. If you are in love with the script, you will be falling in love with actors, trust me. It drives me mad to see directing students asking for scenes for finals: you should have a long list of plays you die to direct! How could you direct actors, if you are not crazy about the script? And the designers, and even the crew! How do you think you can get the public?

Maybe I am too lucky; I direct only masterpieces (college stage). I never directed the play twice -- I want to, but so many great dramas... I get to the next. And, listen, they are competing in my mind, heart, soul for being NEXT. I have a list in SHOWS directory "Plays to Direct"; some writers wait for years (Pinter, Beckett and many others) -- and I wait with them too. Why? Why we are not ready for each other? Oh, there are many reasons! I don't have this right actor, or I don't see "today" (when the audience gasps -- it's about me!) -- what to do? Don't wait, direct it in your imagination! Start right now, and keep directing, until that time when you can call the auditions... And you know -- if you directed a play for years, you will be ready. Ready to direct it. Ready to try.

Part Five: Dramatic Structure and the Playwright

Play: Structural Points (Composition)
A. Exposition
B. The inciting incident
C. Rising and falling dramatic action
D. Crisis Climax
E. Resolution
F. Denouement

The Playwright (Notice the spelling: “-wright” like a wheelwright or shipwright. The person is a playwright, and a playwright practices playwriting).

H. Tools
1. Dialogue
a. The scripted conversations of the characters.
b. Reveals character and plot.

2. Stage Directions
a. The playwright’s explanations and descriptions of what happens on stage.
b. Reveals action.

3. Structure (Narrative): Story
a. The way in which the playwright arranges the sequence of events.
b. Linear vs. Non-Linear (Star Wars and Fargo vs. Memento and Pulp Fiction)

I. Process
1. Internal
a. The collection, research, and thought process stage.
b. Think of a sponge soaking up everything around it.
c. Germination of idea
i. Rough story line
ii. Decide on message
iii. Creates characters
iv. Envision stage moments
v. Decides on style of dialogue
vi. Brainstorms structure

d. Research

2. Crafting or writing
a. Ways to begin:
i. Character
ii. Plot
iii. Improvisation with actors

3. Development
a. The text is now in a 2nd draft by this point.
b. Staged Readings (Allows the playwright to see audience reaction in an informal environment).
c. First productions
i. The playwright typically works closely with the director.
ii. Re-writes during rehearsal

III. Production and Show

1. A company selects a playwright’s script.

2. The producer negotiates the performance rights for the play through the playwright or his agent.

3. The theatre company pays the royalty fees.
a. Based on:
i. Playwright’s name
ii. Whether the play is a one act, full length, or a musical.
iii. Professional and Amateur Rights
iv. Physical size of the theatre
v. Ticket prices

[ ]

Dramaturgue **
2004 & After

projects: Oedipus 2005

new: Taming of the Shrew 2004

missing: film acting

directing wish list (short):



Virtual Theatre: Directing, Acting, Drama, Theory

playsChekhov, Ibsen, Shakespeare

Class One Act: Proposal Chekhov

ReadSpeaker AudioFeed - Podcast of this blog


FOKIN: The problem of presenting the early work of young playwrights and directors is an important one. A young director should have the right to make a mistake, otherwise he can't become a director. The management of a theater often thinks, "Will audiences come to see the play?" That's a problem. My center will offer the possibility for young artists to start their careers in an environment of complete theatrical investigation. (NYT) [ 2003: After part 1 and 3 in your textbook read part 2 (rehearsals) ]

Textbook Part 4. Style

What is directorial style? Why History of Theatre is known mostly as History of Drama?



Script Analysis for all three genres: comedy, drama, tragedy (scenes). Comedy to rehearse.

[ The best is to read pages for analysis; at least THR215 Dramatic Literature, the course I ask directors to take before considering THR331 enrollment. ]

You must know the difference between Comedy, Drama and Tragedy (Aristotle); see Aesthetics directory for definitions.

Next: Part II
@2001-2004 film-north *
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Assignments: staging exercises, scenework, text analysis, writing, reading

[ * the bridge between film & stage directing: read The Book of Spectator * ]
... A playscript is more like a composer's score than an author's manuscript. Just as music cannot solely exist on paper, so a play cannot exist without being brought to life in a production. Just as a composer can do no more than write symbols denoting the sounds he hears in his imagination, so a playwright can give no more than the basic bones of the play he sees.



theatre glossary McGraw-Hill + theatre glossary + MY glossary portal 07

PETER BROOK Does Nothing Come from Nothing? "For instance, it always struck me over the years that there is something totally incomprehensible in the mystery of an actor's ability to enter, instantaneously, into the depth of another human being with an exact understanding of the complex mechanism of that person's mind. The actor is an Instant Analyst."

subjects : 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * visual composition * concept * light * sound * color * montage * SM * Dramaturg *

"When I first began to work in the theatre, I worked with a very young Alec Guinness. Alec Guinness, who had already done a lot of work, said to me, "I must warn you, if you interrupt me while I am rehearsing something emotional, if in the middle of a scene you just interrupt me because you just want to tell me something, I'll yell at you". "But", he said, "don't take this as showing any bad faith, any bad intentions on my part. I can't bear to lose the thread, the unity of my character, so I will shout so as to stay within what I am doing". This is the only occasion I have ever heard an actor say such a thing and to me it is the exception that underlines an astonishing rule. Normally, an actor can be deeply inside an extraordinary, complex character, inter-relating with great passion with another character and you can say, "Just a moment, could you just step two inches to the right because otherwise you would be out of the light" and he says in his normal voice "Oh yes, certainly", immediately picking up again not only the thread of the scene, but the entire human being who is, as it were, put on and taken off as easily as a coat. But the mystery is that this coat goes on and off inside and the actor can slip into the entire fibre and structure of a human being in a flash, without using any mental devices or tricks." "This is the sort of everyday experience of acting, which remains for me an extraordinary mystery. But there is another mystery that goes beyond this ; there are bad actors and there are good actors. The difference between a bad actor and a good actor is something that everyone recognises ; but when our job is to find a precise way to transform the level on which an actor is acting, to make "bad" become "better", then one is in front of a great enigma. What makes for a change in quality ?

Quality in external things, quality in a motor car, quality in any visible object is very easy to define. Quality when it comes to human actions and human relations is exceptionally difficult to define. But it takes on a special interest when it is related to the same blueprint, to a shared written structure, a shared physical structure, whether involving two actors or twenty. When an understudy takes over from another actor, he may do exactly the same gestures and movements as the person he replaces and everybody in any audience will unmistakably tell whether what they are experiencing is now on a lower level of quality or a higher level of quality. However terrified people are today of anything that suggests "value", empirically every single paying audience recognises and responds all the time to an absolutely unmistakable, if indefinable, scale of values. So when one works, one is all the time looking for a "value" and this is quite specific. It is not just the generalised thing of playing a scene well, of having a company that "plays well together" ; this is not enough ; each single word counts, as does each single intonation, or the way that a hand moves forward, moves backwards or can pause for a moment. These all contain exactly the same question : What is this strange human fabric, this ectoplasm that the actor has taken from nowhere, put on and which has penetrated through all his fibres and which can be of cheap quality, of middle quality, or supremely fine quality, just like a carpet ? What produces this substance of variable quality ? All that one can say for certain is that there is a crystal clear reference, a yardstick and like everything in the theatre, this yardstick only exists "in the moment".

Nothing in the theatre has any meaning "before" or "after". Meaning is "now". An audience comes to the theatre for one reason only, which is to live a certain experience and an experience can only take place at the moment when it is experienced. When this is truly the case, the silence in a theatre changes its density and in every form of theatre, in all different traditions and all the different types of theatre all over the world you can see exactly the same phenomenon. An audience is composed of people whose minds are whirling — as they watch the event, sometimes this audience is touched — again we do not really know what "touched" means, except that it is a phenomenon. At first, the audience isn't touched — why should it be ? Then all of a sudden, something touches everyone. At the moment that they are touched an exact phenomenon occurs. What has been up till then individual experiences becomes shared, unified. At the moment when the mass of people becomes one, there is one silence and that silence you can taste on the tongue. It's a different silence from the ordinary silence that is there at the beginning of the performance and it is a silence that can, according to the quality that is lived by the actor, become an experience that is of another quality for the audience, one which each person recognises. This shared recognition expresses itself through the increasing density of the same silence.

Because of this, one can see that there is a mystery which has always been present in the nature of a theatre event. And I think this must be linked to something very fascinating — the difference between drama and tragedy. When an audience sees a sordid, miserable reflection of the misery of life, if this is amusingly presented, or excitingly presented the audience can have a good and interesting evening and applaud at the end. But this is not what one means by the word tragedy. Tragedy has a very special effect. If tragedy reaches the intensity we've just described when the deepest of silences is produced in the audience, then the audience confronts the intense core of a living experience, and the audience leaves the theatre totally renewed."

[ ... ]

"Now, the very obscure word "catharsis" refers to this, but unfortunately a word cannot help one's understanding. What can help us, on the contrary, is to return to the question, recognising a true enigma when we meet one. When terror is aroused in a particular way, instead of the reaction being negative, something positive is released. This seems to me very important to stress because the theatre has a possible vocation — it can be a healing process. There was a time, the time of Greek tragedy, when a whole city could come together and the fragmentation of all the individuals who make up the city would be transformed into a shared, intense experience in which self is transcended. For a moment, a life of a completely different nature was tasted and then each person would leave the theatre and go back into their ordinary preoccupations. But a temporary healing of the diseased and fragmented community took place, even if the fragmentation and the conflicts took place again as people left the theatrical space. And the transformation and the taste — and the confidence — it gave could take place again and again whenever the audience came together in the special circumstances of a performance. Society cannot be healed permanently, but temporary healings can constantly redress the balance."

Script selection:

Professional directors either approve of scripts or are "matched"—by the producer(s).
But most try to do the things they like best.
Non-professionals – do what they like, usually – doing what they dislike might ruin the production.

Idea and spectacle are the most common elements to excite directors.

Must learn to know what you do best, and improve on others – choose plays you can do well…

The "master metaphor" – or "Directorial concept" – (62) -- a concept or directorial image – To sort out the random ideas into a pattern of sorts – draw connections, give theatrical life to those that seem possible.

Concept implies rational and thoughtful.

Image implies picture-making.

Perhaps a combination of both, depending on director, is best.

Wilson, in The Theatre Experience, 6th edition, 138, suggests using the following as ideas/ jumping-off points:

Central / controlling image / metaphor
Concept / purpose:

Alan Schneider called it the "directional conception."

Zelda Fichandler of the Arena Stage refers to the Russian term, "zamissel," or pervading thought.

(Oedipus as a mystery--- perhaps?)

Harold Clurman (1901-1980) – critic and director – look for the "spine" of the play – the "through-line" -- the "main action" -- a general action that "motivates the play" – the fundamental drama or conflict. (61-62)

Stanislavsky referred to the super-objective.

[ ... ]

Directors on Directing: A Source Book of the Modern Theater by Helen Krich Chinoy, Toby Cole; Bobbs-Merrill, 1963 [ quotes * questia ]


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