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Play Readings

Book Description

Play Readings: A Complete Guide for Theatre Practitioners demystifies the standards and protocols of a play reading, demonstrating how to create effective and evocative readings for those new to or inexperienced with the genre. It examines all of the essential considerations involved in readings, including the use of the venue, pre-reading preparations, playwright/director communication, editing/adapting stage directions, casting, using the limited rehearsal time effectively, simple "staging" suggestions, working with actors, handling complex stage directions, talkbacks, and limiting the use of props, costumes, and music. A variety of readings are covered, including readings of musicals, operas, and period plays, for comprehensive coverage of this increasingly prevalent production form.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. CONTENTS
  5. Acknowledgements and Credits
  6. Preface
  7. Introduction
    1. Play Readings and New Play Development
    2. History of New Play Development
    3. Dissenting Voices
    4. Scope and Purpose
    5. Definition of Terms
  8. PART 1 Before Rehearsals
    1. 1 Going Public
    2. 2 The Preliminaries
      1. Submission Policies
      2. Where to Submit
      3. The Offer
      4. Playwright and Producer Discussion
      5. Securing a Director
      6. Information for the Director
    3. 3 Time Restrictions
      1. Rewrites
      2. Playwright and Director Discussions
    4. 4 Casting
      1. Character Breakdown
      2. Agents
      3. Celebrity Actors
      4. Emerging Actors
      5. Casting at Labs, Theatre Festivals, and Other Organizations
    5. 5 Model for a Play Reading
      1. Simplicity
      2. Enhancement
      3. The Model
      4. The Venue
      5. Music Stands
      6. Standing or Sitting
      7. Retreat Positions
      8. Placement of Stage Directions Reader
      9. Diagrams
      10. Additional Chairs and Music Stands
      11. Placement and Movement of Actors
      12. Multi-Character Scenes
      13. Clothing, Hair, and Makeup
    6. 6 Stage Directions
      1. Stage Directions for Readings
      2. Editing Stage Directions
      3. The Setting
      4. Reading Draft
      5. Stage Directions Reader
      6. Props
      7. Adverbs
      8. Consistency
      9. Review of Pre-rehearsal Responsibilities
  9. PART 2 Rehearsal and Performance
    1. 7 Before Rehearsal Begins
      1. The Director and the Stage Manager
      2. The Actors
      3. Pre-rehearsal Discussions
      4. Rehearsal Strategies
    2. 8 Movement, Gestures, and Adapting Stage Directions in Rehearsal
      1. Gestures and Physicalization
    3. 9 Editing and Movement for Challenging Text and Stage Directions
      1. Extended Stage Directions
      2. Intimacy, Singing, and Sharing Music Stands
      3. Violence, Accents, Foreign Languages, and Sound Effects
      4. Unconventional Stage Directions
    4. 10 Review and Incorporating Technical Cues
      1. Lighting
      2. Internal Light Cues
      3. Music, Sound Effects, and Enhancement Mics
      4. Entrances, Initial Positions, Intermission, Bows, and Exits
      5. Memorization
      6. Reviewing Scenes and Beats
    5. 11 Acting in a Play Reading
      1. Before Rehearsal
      2. During Rehearsal
      3. Monologues and Cue Phrases
      4. Stage Directions Reader
    6. 12 Development and Presentation
      1. Process versus Product
      2. Additional Rehearsal Time
    7. 13 Developing New Musicals and Operas
      1. Libretto Readings
      2. Recorded Score
      3. Piano/Vocal Workshops
      4. Workshops
      5. Casting a Reading of a Musical or Opera
      6. Materials
      7. Internal Stage Directions
    8. 14 Nondevelopmental Readings
      1. Plays
      2. Musicals
      3. Other Venues
      4. Considerations with Nondevelopmental Readings
  10. PART 3 After the Reading
    1. 15 Audiences and Talkbacks
      1. Arguments against Talkbacks
      2. Terminologies and Alternatives
      3. Moderators
      4. Playwrights’ Choice
    2. 16 Follow-Up Discussions
      1. Playwrights
      2. Directors
      3. Actors
      4. Emails and Social Media
  11. Epilogue: Moving Forward
  12. Appendix A—For Emerging Artists
  13. Appendix B—Unions and Guilds
  14. Appendix C—Selections, Cuttings, and Excerpts
  15. Appendix D—A Playwright’s Responses: A. Rey Pamatmat
  16. Appendix E—Advice from a Casting Director: Tom Rowan
  17. Appendix F—International Readings: Horacio Pérez
  18. Appendix G—Plays Used in the Text: Synopses and Scenes
  19. Index