STAGE 6: Rehearsal and performance
- To test the shape of the play and see if any changes need to be made.
- To enable students to let go of their scripts and become fluent in their lines.
- To build confidence in the pupils as performers and in speaking the language of their partner school.
- To connect with partner school enabling you to ensure you have collaborated on theme and to make alterations to each other’s scripts to enhance final production.
- The students will be ready to upload their performance.
- By sharing your scripts and swopping tips you will be fully engaged with partner school on the collaboration.
This role can be fulfilled by the teacher or a student who is not in the play.
It is important for your production to have an outside eye, with an objective view point.
CHECK LIST FOR THE DIRECTOR
The following may seem basic but they are all crucial.
- Make sure the story is strong and clear.
- Each character can be heard and understood.
- Ensure the audience can see who is speaking.
- Blocking /spacing; let the characters move freely whilst making sure that the shape on stage is interesting ie that the characters are not all in a line or standing in front of each other. Check that no one if facing away from the audience (unless this is meant)
- Experiment with the exits and entrances of each character – try various options until you find the one that has the dramatic impact you require.
Even if you are not using costume ensure each character has their own visual identity.
WARM UP ACTIVITIES
Try a few of the warm up games before you begin. These will help students feel less inhibited and establish a creative working atmosphere.
Rehearsal is the only way you will know if your play really works.
Read the script through as a group, listening carefully to each other.
EDIT YOUR SCRIPT
Does the dialogue feel natural? If not make appropriate changes.
Have you got too many words/ are the sentences too long? Often when we write we over explain – an answer or a thought can be expressed by a shrug of the shoulder or a nod of the head.
Is the story clear and strong?
CREATE A SPACE TO PERFORM
This can be done in your classroom, or on an actual stage. If you don’t have a set, be as creative as you can with the props, costumes and general surroundings.
Make sure all the cast understand the geography of the set: ie the position of the audience, the exits and entrances etc.
BEGIN TO STAGE YOUR PLAY
With scripts in hand begin to stage your play.
If you have more than one play keep showing your work to each other.
Share and give feedback that will enhance each play.
Add music, movement and choreography if appropriate
Once lines are learnt, you are happy with pronunciation and students feel confident, try running the whole play. You need to run the play AT LEAST three times before filming!
DRESS REHEARSAL WITH AN AUDIENCE
When you feel nearly ready to film, organise a dress rehearsal. This is a run of the play that should be EXACTLY as you are going to perform it for the filming – including costumes lights etc if you are using them).
Invite an audience of your choice, this will add a little pressure to the performers but in a positive way.
Before you begin your dress rehearsal make sure students are working as a group and focused (use warm up games to help you).
Ask the audience for their feedback. Can they hear everyone? Understand the language?
It doesn’t matter what language your play is written in, if the acting is good, it should be understood in any language.
Once you feel happy that you have a performance, get filming!
Working with your partner school
Share your scripts. When you receive the script from your partner school if it’s written in your native language read it allowed and see if there are any language/dialogue tips you can give to each other.
Fine tune your collaboration – have your ideas for the joint theme worked out? Make any changes you need to ensure your collaboration is tight.
To get the words and the language even tighter try speed running: Run through your play at double speed including the pauses. This should ensure students are very tight on the language, that the energy of the story is driven through and that there is no unnecessary sagging of pace.
(You may even find it turns out to be more the correct speed.)
The more rehearsals the better the performance.
Try watching television with the sound turned down. How much can you understand?
Along with the cast, refer to the ‘Magic Words’ sheet – does your show meet all your requirements?
Other ideas and inspirations
When the cast get confident try this exercise: Perform it in different styles for example as an opera, as a American western or as a group of chimpanzees.
This will liberate them from the script even more and surprising things maybe discovered.