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The Directors Workshop Weekly Topic

Each week in the 6-Week Directors Workshop, we incorporate a focus designed to enhance your understanding of what a director does. Below are featured themes from one of the sessions.

WK 1. Where are we in the story.png

Where are we in the story?

"Knowing where we are in the story is not a simple matter of chronology. For the director working out performance details with an actor, it is a conduit to the heart of a vital, vigorous, immediately playable action."

— Robert Bailey

WK 2. Creating Character Thru Blocking.p

Creating Character Through Blocking

"The director in rehearsal guides actors to enhance the physical life of their characters with small but significant suggestions: The rhythm and intention in a bit of movement; a pregnant pause; the specific handling of a prop. Many detailed choices can be made, rooted in the text, to bring the characters and story to life."

— Robert Bailey

WK 3. Improv- When and How.png

Improvisation: When and How?

"Sometimes, letting the actors toss their scripts aside will shake them loose from the tyranny of word-patterns, and they will find their way back to the essence of the scene. Improvisation clears away the cobwebs."

— Robert Bailey

WK 4. Raising the Stakes.png

Raising the Stakes

"We want to avoid giving the actor 'result' directions (“I think you are in a rage here; I need a whole lot MORE ANGER out of you”). Far more effective is to remind the actor of what is ultimately at stake in a situation or relationship (“He betrayed you again, he wants to crush your spirit, you’ve got one last chance to call him on it, either you fight back now with everything you’ve got or you’re finished!”).  Directors look for CAUSE rather than EFFECT. We appeal to the actor’s imagination by putting an indelible IMAGE of the dramatic stakes in his or her mind. We always look for what the battle is about, what the character is FIGHTING for."

— Robert Bailey

WK 5. Side Coaching vs Letting it Roll.p

Side Coaching v.s. Letting it Roll

"If you as director have taken good care of the actors by establishing a collaborative atmosphere from the first days of table work and throughout the blocking rehearsals, you should have earned a fair amount of trust and good will. Chances are the scene will proceed with no comment from you at all -- why break their stride or intrude on their concentration and belief? But occasionally, a well-timed prompt in the heat of the moment (“Get between him and the door!” “Crawl over to her on your knees!” “Let him have it with both barrels!”), or even a gentle reminder of a key relationship (“This is why you can’t bear to leave him”), will raise the stakes and lift the performance to a new, mutually-desired level."

— Robert Bailey

WK 6. Staging the Multi-Char Scene.png

Staging the Multi-Character Scene

"People move and behave in relation to each other and in concert with their intentions. When blocking the multi-character scene, the director is focused on three basic questions:

What do the individual characters WANT?    HOW do they move and behave in the given environment to get what they want?   WHERE does the eye of the viewer want to be at every crucial moment?   


Clarity, focus, logical behavior in the given circumstances, balance, and rhythm… all come naturally into play as these questions lead to organic blocking solutions."

— Robert Bailey

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