Shakespeare and Acting
Fall 2007

Promptbook Instructions

Please assemble your promptbook in the following order and be prepared to turn it in on performance day.

a. Cover page
b. Introductory Page
c. Set Design (Elevations and Ground Plan or Description)
d. Company Report
e. Prompt Pages
f. Costume Drawings/ Descriptions and Justifications
g. Character Reports (one per actor)
h. Photographs of Key Moments in Tableaux
i.  Video of Key Moment in Tableaux

1. At your first rehearsal, your acting company should carefully read through and study your scene.

a. Circle any unfamiliar words and define them using a dictionary, C.T. Onions’ A Shakespeare Glossary, or the notes in your copy of the play.
b. Paraphrase any difficult lines.

2. Decide how you want to stage the scene and then draw the stage set.

a. First do a free form drawing, and then do scale drawings, both an elevation and a ground plan.
b. For a finishing touch, write a key line from your scene under the set design.

3. Complete the promptbook pages.

a. You may make cuts in your scene by crossing out lines, but Shakespeare’s words must appear in their original sequence without changes in their meaning. In the margin briefly justify the reasons for your cuts. 
b. Make production notes for the way you want the scene to be played. These notes should include the following information: pauses, tone of voice, gestures and facial expressions, notes or diagrams of action and movement.

4. Decide how you will costume your players.

a. Provide a drawing or description of each of your character’s costumes.
b. Provide a justification for making these choices related to your interpretation of the scene. (If you do the scene in modern dress or in another time period, explain your reasons.)

5. Each student in your company will complete a character report for the character that he is portraying explaining his character’s objectives and motivations in the scene. 

6. Each company must turn in a company report which describes your group’s understanding of the scene and your interpretation of how it fits into the overall design of the play.

7. 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.

8. Special Extra Credit will be given to those groups that turn in their promptbooks in electronic form!

9. Special Double Extra Credit will be given to students who include digital pictures and/or video of key moments in your performance.