Directing I: The Director’s Vision (DRA4332.01)

Jean Randich

What is action? What is character? What is an “event”? What are gesture, timing, rhythm and stakes? How do actors, playwrights, and directors collaborate to create an experience/event in space and time? How do illusion and anti-illusion collude and compete to make the representation “real?” This workshop/seminar offers theater artists the chance to examine their craft from the inside out. Tuesday afternoons we meet in a 4-hour block to allow for in class rehearsals and showings.

Throughout the course everyone participates in all exercises and assignments. We tell stories, we act, and those who have never directed direct. We begin by exploring the energy in the body, focusing on stillness and release. We continue with physical exercises from both the eastern and western traditions leading into improvisation as a method for tapping the source of impulses. We touch on the Viewpoints as a tool for creating kinetic compositions spontaneously in space. In the text analysis section, we study the expression of action through structure, dialogue, and the importance of “events.” We consider “vocal action,” subtext, and freeing up the voice. By mid-term, everyone directs a short scene from one Chekhov play. In the second half of the term, students choose one contemporary play from which they will direct individual scenes. Directors and actors will work together to direct, rehearse, design, and present a public performance of scenes from one play of the students’ choosing.

Following the example of Lynn Hernandez, I practice presenting materials and activities, and invite the students to present materials and activities, that respect equity, inclusion, and diversity. This embraces gender identity, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, and culture.


Learning Outcomes:
Analyzing, visualizing, and staging a a script for performance.
Sharpening spatial and temporal awareness of events: how do things happen and how long does it take?
Collaborating with an ensemble: how to listen, how to work together, how to articulate a vision, and how to inspire others to work with you.
Learning how to talk to actors: What is the character's problem and how do they act to solve it?
Learning how research can deepen your awareness of a historical period, or the context of an issue.
Learning how to identify the big ideas of a text and consider how to engage your audience with the immediacy of these ideas. In other words, how to make art that speaks to your community.
Exploring how montage can create images and experiences for the audience that you only suggest, not actually show.


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Prerequisites include a selection of courses in acting, design, dramaturgy, stage management, dramaturgy, or theater history, as well as permission of the instructor. Students should express their interest and qualifying experience in writing to Jean Randich at jrandich@bennington.edu. We will compile the names of the interested candidates and the drama group as a whole will confer on who may enroll. Preference is given to 4th and 3rd year students, and to students for whom directing is vital to their plan.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T, 2:10PM-6:00PM; F, 2:10PM-4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 14
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: Drama , Fully In-Person , All courses
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