Writing a theatre script analysis

Formalist script analysis for production is an important skill for directors, designers, and actors to master. Although each approaches analysis a little differently, there are foundation elements that everyone in the theatre shares when it comes to analyzing a script for production. A formalist analysis is uses standard categories in its approach, such as given circumstances, background story, character, external action, etc. Although research is involved, the central focus is on the script and the person performing the analysis attempts to distill the essence of the play through careful analysis of about 10 different categories of information.

Writing a theatre script analysis

Script Analysis for the Theatre Robert Knopf Released 9 February While this book has what seems like an academic title, it is actually a practical manual for fledgling theatre directors on how to properly use a script, from the first time you read it as a production you are to direct to writing a pitch to producers, designers and others involved in the production to put across your "vision".

The methodology used is largely derived from Stanislavski with terminology borrowed from the original translations of An Actor Prepares by Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood such as "objectives", "tempo-rhythm" and "given circumstances" with a fair dose of what has become known as "actioning", where individual lines are assigned active verbs to describe the character's intentions for the actor to play.

These terms are not always defined as clearly as in the original source, although there are good examples from plays that should be familiar, or at least are readily available, to most directors in Europe and the US.

It's a practical approach that has been developed by the author through his own directing work in American colleges and at small theatres in New York, which, though there is a college production feel about the way it is described, should work fine as a starting point for a new director, and possibly give a few ideas to those who have just started out as directors for the stage.

There are further aids provided, including some blank forms to use in the different aspects of the analysis—there is a lot of paperwork in this method—and sample verbs for all occasions if you are hampered in your actioning by momentary lapses in vocabulary.

This is not, however, a guide for academic or literary analysis—it doesn't have sufficient rigour for that and doesn't provide enough detail of the origins of the various techniques.

This is a description of a practical process that clearly began with Stanislavski and others but which the author has evolved into a practical system that works for him—the roots of the system matter little in the rehearsal room as long as the required results are achieved.

The system does have its limitations.

writing a theatre script analysis

Stanislavski himself was adamant that his 'system' could be applied to any style of theatre, not just naturalism he also regularly directed opera but never entirely justified this. Similarly, Knopf tries to apply his techniques to many different styles, but a few techniques clearly designed for a world of psychological realism seem a bit odd, if not counter-productive, when applied to, say, Oscar Wilde or Ancient Greek drama.

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Follow these steps and you can begin rehearsal with confidence, ready to take on whatever challenge comes your way. Get familiar with your character, get familiar with the text. Acting, Improvisation, Directing, Writing, Movement, and Voice classes available for all ages and levels, located in Berkeley.

Weeknight and weekend classes. Private Voice lessons and . Formalist script analysis for production is an important skill for directors, designers, and actors to master.

Although each approaches analysis a little differently, there are foundation elements that everyone in the theatre shares when it comes to analyzing a script for production.

Script Analysis: “Beginners” — Scene By Scene Breakdown