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Staging Rehearsals. Chapter Twelve. THE choreography of movement of the actors established by the director or actors It defines the actor’s relationship with the set, props, furniture, entrances and exits and the ensemble Methods of staging vary from director to director. BLOCKING.

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staging rehearsals

Staging Rehearsals

Chapter Twelve


THE choreography of movement of the actors established by the director or actors

  • It defines the actor’s relationship with the set, props, furniture, entrances and exits and the ensemble
  • Methods of staging vary from director to director
successful blocking

Discover or identify what is true and important about each moment and allow that to influence movement choices

  • Good staging enhances the character relationships and conflicts, creates and releases tension and reflects the inner lives of the characters
Successful blocking

Physical relationships play a critical role in establishing strong emotional and psychological reactions in the audience

  • Different parts of the stage have different properties

When the position of one actor forces another actor to turn upstage in order to engage in conversation.


other dynamics


  • Levels
  • Stage placement
  • Proximity to scenery
  • Crowds
  • Isolation
  • Time…related to distance
Other dynamics
actions objectives

Actions are not activities

  • Actions require motivation
  • What do the characters want in the scene? How can this best be expressed in blocking?
ACTIONS (Objectives)

Defined by dialogue and physical relationships

  • Analyze the relationships and enhance them onstage
    • How do characters move?
    • Do they touch? Or not?
    • Are they elegant like dancers? Or awkward like thugs?
    • Explore characters spatial relationships

Since conflict is the root of action, the staging must reflect the conflict in physical terms

  • Each scene should be treated as a conflict that is introduced and resolved
  • First analyze the conflict to understand it and then use it to drive the scene
entrances and exits

Much is communicated when characters enter or exit

  • Consider placement of entrances and exits carefully and use them tactfully
  • Oftentimes, musicals challenge you with challenges of logic…seek to clarify place through consistency
  • Regardless, motivate entrances and exits

Sighlines are the view each audience member has of the stage

  • Directors can help in staging is they have a model to work from
stage pictures


  • Picturization
  • Balance
  • Proportion
  • Variety
  • Beauty

The totality of what the audience sees from their seats. Ideal stage

pictures are unified, aesthetically pleasing and revelatory.

organic blocking

ORGANIC BLOCKING is truthful, believable and emerges naturally from the given circumstances of the moment and the relationship between the actors. If something is organic, it feels human and honest.

In this method, actors are encouraged to move freely and “discover” what feels natural and organic. Director must guide the discoveries.

Organic Blocking
blocking outline

Improvisation is helped by having a loose blocking outline that provides a structure for the improvisation

  • In this system, the director gives the actors a sense of the scene before they begin to improvise…plan key moments, entrances and exits, for example
Blocking Outline
setting the scene

After exploring through improvisation, the director sets the choices and the blocking is noted by the PSM

  • NOTE, this is only a blocking technique…it should not be used for performance UNLESS it is an IMPROV show
  • Once blocking is “set” it affects the work of the other collaborators
  • For discussion, see the text, page 129-130
Setting the scene
the planned approach pre blocking

Read and be familiar with the scene

  • Make an outline of the scene’s major actions
  • Visualize the setting (constult the groundplan and model)
  • Beat by beat, work your way through the scene
  • Record your blocking in your DPN
The planned approach (Pre-blocking)
putting the scene on its feet

Set the groundplan with rehearsal furniture

  • Explain the groundplan
  • Readthrough the scene
  • Discuss the main action
  • Place the actors in their places
  • Block, but allow actors choices for business
  • Once blocked, run the scene
  • Make any necessary changes
Putting the scene on its feet

Blocking notes

Devise a system that

works for you and the

play you are working


blocking in non proscenium spaces

Chapter 13 addresses variations to proscenium stages including thrust, arena and in-the-round (pp137-141)

  • Remember that SIGHTLINES are always shifting in non-proscenium spaces and that your blocking needs to provide appropriate variety
Blocking in non-proscenium spaces
final thoughts

Remember where the audience is seated

  • Be aware of the sightlines
  • Create organic action
  • Entrances and exits
  • Scene changes