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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More Advice for Community Theatre Directors

Greetings ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Bobby Keniston, and I'd like to welcome you to my little blog called Theater is a Sport, where I talk about all things theatre-related.

As regular readers know, I am very much a believer in the importance of community and school theatre, not only as a training ground for professionals, but because it is vastly important to our culture as a whole.  So, today, I thought I would share some more advice for school and community theatre directors, culled from my many years directing for both of these markets. 

I talked a good deal about "beats" in an earlier post, how they are essential for a director to find and interpret.  Today, I would like to share with you all what I do early on in the directing process as part of my "director's homework", before rehearsals even begin.  I like to make a chart, which I will demonstrate below, for the play I am directing, a chart that is based on the beats of a play, and that will help to give me a start at comprehending the technical requirements, as well as the beginnings of visualising the play in my head, beat by beat, character by character.  Here is an example of the chart below:

Page #’s
Characters Involved
Props Used
Lighting &

Now, as you can see, the number of boxes depends on the number of beats in the play.  So, I start with BEAT #1 in the first box.  In the next box over, I put the page numbers (for example:  Pg 6 (Mike: .... How are you today) through top of page 7 (Erica:  My tooth is starting to hurt).  This gives me a roadmap.  Next box, I list all of the characters involved, and whether they enter or exit, then the setting/location in the next box, props used (personal and pre-set), the starting costumes or if there are any costume changes, and then lighting and sound shifts as indicated by the script.  Now, obviously, this is a jumping off point.  You may decide during rehearsals to add props or lighting cues, play with entrances, exits, costumes, what-have-you.  All of that is fine and encouraged.  But what this chart does for me is helps me organize the show into pieces that are not overwhelming.  It helps me to see the details and not just the overall picture.  The vision begins to come into focus for me.  I have also found that doing this homework is great for production meetings with the designers, to organize every little shift.  It's also nice for the stage manager to see what kind of rehearsal props they can scrounge up.

Again, things might change, additions and subtractions may be made.  Those notes will go into rehearsal reports, so don't worry about it.  Making a chart like this, or, at least writing out these details (by all means, don't use the chart if you don't want to), you will begin to know the piece backwards and forwards, and see how one point flows into the next.

If you have any questions or thought about this chart, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below.

If you would like to know more about me, feel free to visit,,, and and search for me, Bobby Keniston.  You will find my plays and links to read free previews of them.  You can also find Theater is a Sport on Facebook by clicking right here:!/TheaterIsASport

Thanks for checking out this blog post.  Remember:  community theatre directors need to be organized, and theater is not only a craft or an artform--- it is also a sport. 

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