Staging a Scene Acting out a dramatic work . . . From Reading to Staging Most people would agree that William Shakespeare is one of the greatest dramatists of all time. His plays examine universal themes with great insight, humor, and eloquence.
Staging a Scene Acting out a dramatic work . . . Actors, directors, composers, dancers, and musicians have interpreted Romeo and Juliet in different ways using a variety of formats. Now you can try your own hand at staging a scene from this great play.
B a s i c s i n a B o x GUIDELINES & STANDARDS Staging a Scene A successful script should • include an overall description of the setting, props, lighting, and costumes • include specific stage directions indicating the gestures, movements, and tones of voice the performers should use • note details of pacing, stage location, and other aspects of the interpretation A successful performance should • demonstrate an awareness of the audience • present a clear and consistent interpretation of the script • maintain the audience’s interest through strong acting, good pacing, and effective staging
Planning Your Scene 1 Staging Your Scene • With your classmates, choose a scene from Romeo and Juliet to stage. You may brainstorm a list of favorite scenes from the play and then pick one of these scenes. • After selecting a scene, follow these steps.
Steps for Planning Your Scene 1. Assign acting roles. Does the group want to have auditions, draw lots, or have interested students choose their own roles? If the scene has fewer parts than the number of students, perhaps the main roles can be double cast. 2. List and assign responsibilities. What other tasks need to be assigned? How will the group assign those tasks? Here are some possible positions: • director • promoter • choreographer • lighting manager • prop manager • set designer • costumer • acting coach • sound crew
Steps for Planning Your Scene 3. Decide on an interpretation. What type of interpretation does the group want to present? A traditional theater performance? A restaging in modern setting and clothes? A choral reading? A musical? 4. Create a “director’s script.” Mark a copy of the script with notes on the staging, sets, action, and delivery that will serve to convey the interpretation the group has chosen.
Steps for Planning Your Scene 5. Gather the props, costumes, and lighting materials you will need. What materials will indicate the time and place of the scene and help establish the characters’ personalities? Remember that the simpler your materials, the more smoothly your staging will go.
Developing Your Stage Presentation 2 Staging Your Scene • Discuss the scene with your classmates to make sure everyone has read and understood it thoroughly. • Resolve any disagreements in interpretations of the characters’ motivations, actions, or emotions. • Look up any unfamiliar words in your part and make sure that you can pronounce them.
Developing Your Stage Presentation 2 Staging Your Scene Get interpretations on paper. As the actors rehearse, they should mark up their scripts with the actions and emotions their roles require. Consider the following elements: • pacing • facial expressions • entrances, exits, and other movements • inflections • gestures • use of props, lighting, or music
Developing Your Stage Presentation 2 Staging Your Scene Get everyone involved. Students who don’t have roles can serve as acting coaches or script markers. While the student playing a role acts it out, another student could provide coaching, and a third could mark the appropriate actions and emotions on the script.
Practicing and Presenting 3 Staging Your Scene The entire cast should practice the scene several times before presenting it. • Read through the parts. The actors should understand what their lines mean so that they can deliver them with the appropriate expression. • Walk through the action. Actors should act out their parts while delivering their lines. Don’t worry about costumes, props, or lighting at this point. Concentrate on making sure the actions support and help clarify the words.
Practicing and Presenting 3 Staging Your Scene • Do a complete staging. Finally, set up the stage and incorporate the costumes, props, and lighting that the group has decided on. After several rehearsals with just the cast, ask one or two other people to watch a rehearsal and offer feedback.
Refining Your Presentation 4 Staging Your Scene TARGET SKILL EVALUATING YOUR INTERPRETIVE CHOICES Think about the decisions you and your classmates made in interpreting your scene. Use the following standards to evaluate how effective those decisions were.
Refining Your Presentation 4 Staging Your Scene TARGET SKILL EVALUATING YOUR INTERPRETIVE CHOICES • Naturalness and clarity. Do the actors deliver their lines and interact in a realistic way? Do the movements on stage add liveliness and interest without becoming distracting? Do the lines and actions clearly present what is going on in the scene?
Refining Your Presentation 4 Staging Your Scene TARGET SKILL EVALUATING YOUR INTERPRETIVE CHOICES • Conveying mood and character. Do all parts of the performance work together to show the emotions and values of the characters? • Consistency. Does each actor’s approach to his or her part fit the overall interpretation? Do the props, lighting, and costumes all work together to support the interpretation?