Acting Shakespeare
Spring 2020

Rehearsal Instructions: (Day One):
1. Getting Organized!

  • Find a place in the theatre where you will come to work each class.
  • Choose your Company’s Name. 
  • Choose a recorder to take notes.
  • Keep all your notes in a Company Folder shared online.

2. Grab your scripts and then… sit down together in a circle. Read through your scene out loud three times:

  • Sit in a circle on the floor.
  • Don’t worry about casting your scene yet. Don’t worry about setting, lighting, costumes, sound, music, special effects yet.
  • Worry instead about figuring out what the words mean.
  • Do round robin readings of the script, 
  • Read Through #1: switch speakers at the end of every line 
  • Read Through #2: switch speakers at each period, semi-colon, colon, question mark or dash.
  • Read Through #3: switch speakers at the end of each character’s speech. 

3. Underline words or phrases that you do not understand. (At this point it is essential to choose someone who will take great notes and then will not lose those notes.)

  • Figure out the word’s meaning through discussion or look up the word in a dictionary.
  • Make a list of what you notice about the language of the characters in a passage: funny spelling, repeated words, and recurring ideas, anything that is striking!

4. Discuss the scene. Answer the following questions:

  • Who are the characters?
  • What do they want? What gets in their way?
  • Where does the scene take place? (Be as specific as you can.)
  • When does the scene take place? (Be precise!)
  • What can you hear, smell, and feel in this setting?
  • Conduct a brief discussion of what your set and costumes would look like if this were a full-blown production. (with a million, or even a 100 million dollar budget!)
  • Choose a company member to be responsible for drawing a picture of your set. 
  • Choose another company member to be responsible for drawing renderings of your costumes.
  • Now, come back to earth because we are not going to give you ANY MONEY!
  • How can you create this setting using crates, curtains and light in the studio theatre’s performing space? 
  • Take five minutes to go around the circle and give each member of the company a chance to offer their ideas about ways to make the scene the best it can be.

5. Cast the scene and get it on its feet.

  • It is o.k. to have different people play the same part at different times. Its also o.k. to double parts by having the same actor play two different people. Don’t worry about gender to type in your casting. It is o.k. to cast against type.
  • Work through the scene together. 
  • Decide where key moments of your scene should take place.
  • Work through the scene again with a different cast.

6. Sit down and make some decisions about how you will stage the scene.

  • Finalize casting.
  • Discuss your characters’ immediate objectives in the scene.
  • Divide up prompt book responsibilities.
  • Start on your homework.

7. Homework:
Start work on your company’s promptbook. 

  • Decide which members of your company will be responsible for your prompt book’s various parts.
  • Remember that the ideal promptbook will have the following parts:
  1. Cover page
  2. Introductory Page
  3. Set Design (Elevations and Ground Plan or Description)
  4. Company Report (group project)
  5. Prompt Pages (see below for the ideal prompt pages)
  6. Costume Drawings (Descriptions and Justifications)
  7. Character Reports (one per actor)
  8. Short Essay (everyone does one of these too)
  9. Photographs of Key Moments in Tableaux
  10. Video of Key Moment in Tableaux
  • The ideal prompt pages will also contain the following:
  1. Definitions of difficult words.
  2. Paraphrases of difficult passages
  3. Blocking Notes:
  • Mark in the script every move your characters will make in the course of your scene.
  • Describe the stage business in which the characters engage.

     4. Character Objectives:
  • Write down your character’s objective in the scene in the margins of your script next to the appropriate lines. If your character’s objective changes during the scene, write the new objective in the margin at the point of change.
  • Mark your lines with notes that indicate inflections, pauses and stressed words.