Directing inspired by performances

Recently I went to see ‘The Roof’ at the National Theatre directed by David Rosenberg and Frauke Requardt. As an audience member you are donned with head phones, and the show is 3D visual and sound experience about a man trapped in a brutal and unforgiving game’. The show is a ‘breathless mix of intimate three-dimensional sound and the hair-trigger movement of free running’. Through the show you are transported ‘into the body of a reluctant hero, desperate to stay alive’.

Quotes taken from the following website: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-roof

This blog will relate to how to prepare students for THE DIRECTOR’S NOTEBOOK and THE COLLABORATIVE PROJECT.

In my IB class I will use this performance to relate to different ways to approach directing. The focus will be on script analysis and creating a vision, but will allow them also to do research into the devising company and the director, so see how they approach practical work. The class will learn how to communicating a vision and explore ways to pictorially/verbally present their work. The focus will be on documenting and communicating an idea, so that your actors can create that vision on stage. At various times I have made link to the core syllabus, the assessment tasks and the IB Learner Profile:

The Directing Workshop

The task focuses initially on INTERPRETATION

  1. Read the opening lines spoken by the narrator in ‘Blood Brothers’ by Willy Russell (as a group) (This can be any script of your choice)
  2. Decide on one phrase, one image, one colour and one smell, that sums up your reaction to the text (Draw and write)
  3. What is the main theme you are focusing on? What meaning do you want to communicate?
  4. Decide on the number of people you can see presenting this (write down, plus a reason)

The second phase is on STAGING

  1. What is the stage space? (Draw this)
  2. What is the set? Are there any productions that you have seen that will inspire this set?
  3. How will the characters move in the space? (Plan blocking)
  4. How will levels, speed, movement be used? (Make notes here to communicate to your actors)

The third phase focuses on IMPACT

  1. What impact do you want to achieve? How will you create this atmosphere?
  2. What is the objective of the scene/the actors?

The fourth phase focuses on PREVIOUS PRODUCTIONS and RESEARCH

  1. How will the ideas work on stage? What have you seen that inspired you?
  2. How do you prepare your actors? What have other directors done?
  3. Now they work practically with their group to present their vision.

The fifth phase is PERFORMANCE

  1. The students each present their vision, their intended impact and their first words they wrote down, and their intended impact, meaning and atmosphere.
  2. The audience members watch and give pertinent feedback regarding impact on them and the effectiveness of the work

Adding TECHNICAL

  1. Introduce sound and light ideas
  2. Develop the integration of technology
  3. Document and either perform or share ideas in a workshop environment.

The Directing Journal

As this stage it is important to stop and guide students to take notes in their journal. This can be seen as a mini director’s notebook. Journal entries at this point included:

Journal entry 1 – What stage spaces were used? How did the layout work in practice. Draw what you did, and then draw what you feel was effective for another performance. What are your gut reactions and ideas?

Journal entry 2 – What impact did each performance have on you? Why? How was this achieved? These notes can relate to performance analysis that focuses on TEAM (Theme, emotion, atmosphere and meaning)

Journal entry 3 – related to the IB Learner Profile – Risk takers, communicators, thinkers and inquirers. The students reflect on how they have challenged themselves, taken risks, communicated with others and upon the skills (TIM and TIW) they have applied during the process.

Journal entry 4 – related to theatre traditions and practitioners – What style and theory did you draw on to inspire your work as a director or performer. Why?

Journal entry 5 – How did you work with others? What did you learn from them? How was theory applied in practice? This section relates to the collaborative project and they can identify a role they could take on in future work.

For more information about the show, Shunt theatre and Fuel theatre visit:

http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-roof

http://www.fueltheatre.com/support-us

 

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