Directing Theatre

12 weeks open enrollment
Private classes with Daniel Kramer

This private course is for emerging directors who want intensive support on preparing a play for production.  What are the essential building blocks that transform a well-written play into a thrilling event of live theatre?  What are the key steps from the moment you read a play, to getting it produced, to conceiving the world of the play, to directing a creative team and ensemble of actors to embody the world of the play? In this course, we will prepare a play of the student's choice, and execute a series of exercises to fully conceive and prepare the production. 

Reading and viewing list available upon registration; please contact Daniel Kramer directly for course eligibility.  


Class 1

What must you say to the world? What is the soil of your poetry? What are your misunderstandings of reality? What do you want to carefully argue?   What forms of art move you – linear, abstract, textural, dance, music, story?   How do you productively read a play for the first time? How do you connect your subconscious landscape to the world of the play? Cultivating first impressions, images, music, visions, poetry, metaphors, actions, ideas and questions. 

Class 2

What is the emotional world of the play between you and the playwright?  What are the cultural, religious and political themes of the play?  What are the lines and colors, metaphors, emotions and super-actions that strucutre the piece.  What do you want your audience to feel, think and question? 

Class 3

European dramaturgy: the play is bigger than you; it exists before, during and after you. In what context did the playwright birth the play?  What fueled the playwright in their personal life to write this play? What are the core ideas and questions underlying the play?  What are the parallels and perpendiculars between then and now?  

Class 4

Script Analysis: classical structure and the well-made play. Scoring the text, rhythms, language, ideas and language. Beats, discovery posts and turning points. Psychological analysis of language, actions, activities, intentions, motivations, patterns of behavior. Extract the stated, implied and imaginary circumstances from the play. Who are these people, where are they, what are they doing? What do they need? 

Class 5

What is the ruling idea/sensation of this play to you? Deconstruction and Reconstruction. What form will you use to express this story? The audience journey builds towards what moment, feeling, idea, question?  Are you directing the play or using the play as springboard for your own new work?  

Class 6

Design Meeting 1. Your visual and aural storyboard. Locations, objects, spatial needs. Understanding space: topography, floor pattern, shape, gesture, duration, repetition, spatial metaphor, Sacred Geometry, the Golden Section and Divine Proportion, symmetry, physical theatre, Laban, Viewpoints.

Class 7

The emotional space versus illustrating location. What is actually needed for unleashing the DNA of the play: the bones of the play's movement: the emotional muscle, the skin of the play?   Space as context and environment, versus location orienting. The American couch syndrome. Costume theory: the Period versus the Personal versus Fantasy. Fabric. Line. Colour. Movement. Archetype.  "Realism" versus "Naturalsim" versus bossy actors deciding what they wear! 

Class 8

Set and costume presentation draft 1.0.  Feedback. Video and lighting design theory: exploring texture, counterpoint, irony, shade, texture, shadow, metaphor, visual assault and complementary imagery.

Class 9

Video/Lights presentation 1.0.  Costume and Set layer 2.0.  Sound Design theory: effects versus texture. White noise.  The four levels of sound for the human ear.  Cacophony.  Classical and popular music. The soundtrack of your life, of the characters, of the world of the play. 

Class 10

Sound Design collage 1.0 presentation.  Blocking the play within the physical design: entrances and exists, floor patterns, actions into movement, physical metaphor, use of architecture, props. Working through the movement of the piece and the arc of the story, characters and audience. Preparing the rehearsal script. 

Class 11

Rehearsal schedule. Week 1,2,3,4,5 into technical rehearsals and previews… what to expect. Day one to openig night: how to layer the process for everyone's needs, including producers and marketing departments.  And your sanity! 

Class 12

Final presentation of director's workbook to industry

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