how to direct a high school play - behind the scenes jobs for students
Assign skills to limits.
It takes a lot of time, energy, patience, talent and effort to perform a wonderful performance on the stage.
It is almost impossible for a person to take all responsibility for the performance.
Once you play your actor, you may have some students working behind the scenes for your work.
You may also have passionate actors who have a small role and want to do more work.
What you don\'t want is teenagers who are lounging during rehearsals.
So, after you \'ve picked the cast, it\'s time to fill in the other necessary work to make your work a success.
Here is a list of work I may provide for students.
Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the students you are in the leadership role.
They may need your guidance and support.
My rehearsals always start with drama matches and warm-up.
While I would love to attend this fun event, I chose one or two students as our warm-up leader.
Warm up captain promotes body and sound warm up and plays team building games with cast and crew.
Give this job to a student so that I can use the beginning of the rehearsal to track attendance, answer questions, and organize any last minute details for the day\'s rehearsal.
As a classroom teacher, I can\'t get to the rehearsal earlier than my students, so it\'s a huge help to have students lead their peers to the rehearsal.
Choose a great stage manager and your work will be easy.
Over the years, I have chosen a good, mediocre, bad stage manager.
Okay, it will be your right hand (or woman).
Bad may not do too much.
A good stage manager can take on a variety of tasks, from attendance, rehearsal notes, managing stage staff, reminding actors of the direction of the stage and notes previously reported, reminding the director what day it is today, you will get photos.
Frankly, my best stage manager could have directed the show himself.
Before I wanted him to finish the work, he finished my thoughts and sentences and did all kinds of work. Choose wisely.
Lighting and harmony light designers and operators: When I first started directing high school drama, I didn\'t know anything about theater lighting.
I don\'t know the first thing about the design or how the lights work.
Thankfully, my students do.
While I have taken the time to learn about theater lighting, during the show I always assign one or two students as lighting operators and ask these students to help me with lighting design.
Someone must operate the lights during the performance.
In our PAC, all the lighting can be set up before the show.
Lights can be adjusted, programmed and rehearsed.
All the lighting operator has to do during the show is press the button on the prompt.
So I can have any interested student as a lighting operator.
The beauty of the job is its flexibility.
When a student learns more, you can give more responsibility to that student.
I don\'t even have to think about lighting for years because I have enough talented students to design, set up and run the lights themselves.
Sound designer and operator: like lighting, I don\'t know much about sound either.
In fact, I admit that this is still my weakest field of theater technology.
This is my weakest reason because I have always had students who are very capable of designing and running sounds in our work.
During the rehearsal, students can determine the sound effect required for the performance by learning the script.
They can help you by choosing music for the transition between the scene background and the scene.
Depending on your facility, they can set up the sound and run the sound card.
Prop & costume prop manager: designate a student to be your prop manager.
The student can be responsible for listing the necessary props, finding them, and organizing the props table.
At the end of the rehearsal and performance, the prop manager can be responsible for checking the prop sheet and organizing it if necessary.
He or she can find any actor who doesn\'t put down the props and make sure all the props are ready when the company needs them next.
If you need more work to fill in, you can assign other students to work under the prop manager.
Clothing manager: one or two students are appointed as the clothing manager.
These students can be responsible for clothing inventory, maintenance and general organization.
Although the actors should hang their costumes at the end of the evening, the clothing manager can follow up and make sure everyone stays organized.
During the rehearsal, my clothing manager helped select the clothing from our collection, label the clothing with the name of the actor or character, repair or list the necessary repairs and alterations, and try to keep the organization of clothing.
Builders & SetsSet Builders and designers: If you are lucky, you will have students who like to build and draw sets.
Some settings are simpler than others and you can design the settings that best suit you.
I find there\'s always something to draw and students who don\'t have other work to do during rehearsal can fill the role. (
I will write more about collections and collection design in future articles. )
Stage Group: add a student to the stage group when there is no other work.
During the rehearsal, the stage staff can be required to do various projects and organize work.
If the actor is missing, they can stand while rehearsing and help the actor learn lines when they don\'t need an actor on stage.
Later in the rehearsal process and during the performance process, they are required to complete the scene changes.
Flying rail operator: some theaters have flying tracks, and some theaters do not.
The flight track is the system on the stage where you can lift your set in order to lift them during the show.
It\'s a job that will really work in your later rehearsals and performances.
I will always be sure to hand this job over to a responsible student because the set often goes in and out when the stage staff moves things on the stage.
Facing the public of the House: On the night of your performance, the front of the House team will work.
During the rehearsal, they can organize work for the night of the show.
This team can be set up in front of the House or at the entrance to the theater.
They can set up tickets or donation stations as well as discount stations.
They can decorate or set up a bulletin board with photos of your company and your show.
They can work at the ticket or donation desk as well as at the franchise station.
They can help by distributing programs and guiding the audience to their seats.
Advocacy group: while the whole company should try to promote your program, you need some key projects that you can assign to the students in the advocacy group.
I always use posters created by students to promote our programs.
Students in the publicity group can create art works for that poster.
We also have wooden clip board signs placed in several places in our community.
Students in the publicity group can draw signs during rehearsal.
Posters need to be hung, announcements may need to be published or written, calls to local newspapers, etc.
Depending on their age and level of responsibility, you can hand over those to the students of the advocacy team.
Depending on your output and the number of students, you may want to come up with one or two projects to keep the students busy.
This is especially important if you work with young people.
For example, in the past school year, I directed a secondary school work by Sherlock Holmes.
There is a character called Flower Boy in the play. I divided it into two characters.
These girls need flowers and I can easily take them out of our props closet and go to the local dollar store.
However, I have a lot of participants who need to do something.
One of the projects we made this time was to make as many tissue flowers as possible before the night of the show.
Then, on the show, I created an opportunity for the flower children to leave the stage through the House and distribute paper flowers to the audience.
The final ThoughtsEach theater production is unique, but the work listed above is fairly standard.
Even though I know very well who will rehearse on any day, I invite all the company members to rehearse even if they are not called.
Some students come every day because they like to spend time with friends in a fun, accepted environment.
Knowing this, I always have a list of work that needs to be done.
Prepare your own list of things to do and assign student leaders to manage the work, which will reduce your workload as a director and give a sense of accomplishment to your student actors and technicians.
By Donna Hilbrandt, 2012.