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How to Direct a High School Play

Updated on November 12, 2015

Oh, Titania

A Midsummer Night's Dream Produced at a high school in Lexington, South Carolina
A Midsummer Night's Dream Produced at a high school in Lexington, South Carolina | Source

Production? Yeah, you can do that!

Now that you know the different crew members that you are looking for, it is time to choose your play and do all of the other things that are involved with obtaining rights to performing the play.

While looking at plays to perform, there are a few questions that, as a director, you need to ask yourself.

  1. What type of actors do I have to fit these roles?
  2. What type of time limits do I have?
  3. What is my budget?
  4. Do I have the materials to perform this play?
  5. Do I have the facility to perform this play?

Once your play is chosen you need to begin thinking about blocking. Below is an example of a basic blocking map. Once blocking is thought of and everything else is in line for your play it is imperative that you write the blocking down. This will help you remember your vision in later rehearsals. Then it is time to begin the best part about directing a play. You get to conduct auditions to find the right cast to make your play the best it could ever be.

No Small Parts, Only Small Actors: Job Descriptions for any Theatrical Production

Job Descriptions:

It’s hard to produce a play if you don’t know exactly what jobs need to be filled. Every good play needs a fantastic cast and crew. The various jobs include:

Publicity- This set of crew members promotes the show in the school and through radio, newspaper, and television. They make original and artistic contributions to the production. This crew means everything to the play, because without them no one knows the play(s) is/are taking place.

House Manager- They have a two part obligation, one to the audience and another to the ushers. The house manager is usually the one who repairs broken seats, checks the temperature, and provides ushers. They provide training and any specific dress code to the ushers. They assign any equipment out and take care of programs being handed out to the audience. They can also be the ones who delegate the task of collecting tickets and selling them.

Stage Manager- They take up the curtain, call scene, call curtain, and help with any set or props changes needed between scenes. They are really what make the show run behind the scenes. The stage manager is basically a mini director backstage keeping the cast and other crew members on task at all times in order to ensure a smooth play experience.

Sound and Light- They are a specifically trained crew of usually 2-4 people who understand all equipment in the booth. They reach the senses of the audience by providing mood and setting in order to make the play more effective. Without this crew the plays would seem much more boring.

Director- This is the main person of any play. This is the head honcho. They create a large team of crew and cast members who they think will work well together. The run the show and have the FINAL word, because the director has a vision for what they want the show to be.

Assistant Director- They take attendance, set the room up for rehearsals, take charge of rehearsals if the director is absent, and they read lines for any absent actors. They are basically a person who would take any responsibility for anyone not attending that day’s rehearsal.

Costume and Makeup Crew- This crew means everything to a play set in period. The crew must have an eye for specifics. If makeup and costume is not just right for a certain play the entire concept will fall apart very quickly. A director must pay close attention whom he or she puts on this crew, and what abilities they bring to the table.

Props Crew- This crew maintains all the props for a play and make sure they are in place right before a rehearsal or performance. .

Blocking Map

A basic blocking map used to help the director bring order to the chaos that is the start of a play. This is the visual lay out of the entire show.
A basic blocking map used to help the director bring order to the chaos that is the start of a play. This is the visual lay out of the entire show. | Source

Shakespeare said what?!

Oh what an actor will do while deciding blocking
Oh what an actor will do while deciding blocking | Source

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