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THR 331 Fundamentals of Stage and Film Direction

Anatoly Antohin
SPRING 2006
MF 2.15-3.45 pm
Green Room & Lab Theatre
Office Hrs: by appointment
Phone: 474-5253
ffaga@uaf.edu
This course will be focused on the art (science) of stage direction and film directing -- a brief history of its development, functions of the director, and components of the art. Specific areas to be studied are script analysis, composition, working with actors, and organizing a production. The student will direct two scenes (stage and video) and a number of shorter performance assignments dealing with focus, movement, and prop. There are two prompt books (for midterm and final exams), scene analyses, rehearsal schedules, and one written critique of a UAF Spring productions viewed in performance. Two tests on Dramatic, Performance and Film theory.

TEXTS: John Ahart, Director's Eye
David Mamet, On Directing Film
The following plays are your required reading: Tragedy -- HAMLET, Oedipus, Shakespeare Comedy -- Taming of the Shrew Drama -- Three Sisters, Chekhov
Please read all plays right away as they will be used as examples throughout the course.
Recommend:
Directors on DIRECTING
DIRECTING ACTORS by Judith Weston
and check "5 Approaches to Acting" THR 221 Intermediate Acting Textbook).

ATTENDANCE: Each student will be allowed one absence without penalty. After one, each subsequent non-excused absence will result in lowering the final grade for the course by 5%.

GRADES
Attendance/participation & discussion 20%
Performance projects (scenes): Midterm and Final exams 20% + 30%
Written assignments + Promt Book 10%
Class Projects 10%
Tests 5% + 5%

ALL ASSIGNMENTS (written or performed) WILL BE SUBMITTED ON TIME OR PENALIZED 5% FOR EACH LATE DAY. LATE WORK FROM DIRECTORS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. All written assignments, unless otherwise noted, are to be typed double-spaced, emailed or posted.

   PERFORMANCE PROJECTS may include:
   -a silent scene
   -a video assignment
   -a period assignment
   -a movement assignment

First Scene: a short scene from Hamlet, Inspector General or Three Sisters directed with the classmates or/and acting students for the Midterm.
Second Scene: Video project

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS may include:
   -a scene analysis (graph & domino list)  
   -1 play critique from a directorial standpoint
   -a promptbook, including analysis of scene, play, characters,
rehearsal schedule, ground-plan, graphs, prop/light/costume
plots, rehearsal diaries, etc.

PRODUCTIONS CRITIQUE REQUIRED: You are required to see the shows of the Spring season, select one for your directorial analysis. You are required to write one critique which must be submitted before the discussion in class. (see a critique checklist/format in THR 331 Master File, THR UAF office).

CLASS SCHEDULE

Week 1: Intro, History, Functions. Spectatorship. Theory: Begin Script Analysis. Review Aristotle's "Poetics". Idea(s) into Concept. Textbook: I.

Week 2: Discussion/Script Analysis. Scene Graphs. ABC of Dramatic Composition. Textbook: III.

Week 3: Text and Subtext: Dramatic and Performance Composition. Focus Scenes Due/Begin Blocking. Theory: Stanislavsky and Meyerhold. Method Acting (Realism) and Scenometrics. Textbook: V.

Week 4: Movement and Blocking. Objective and Obstacle. `Silent Scene'-- visualization and physicalization. Textbook: IV.

Week 5: Time and Space. Working with Actors: Acting Areas. Dramatic Theory Test. Textbook: IX.

Week 6: FIRST ROUND OF SCENES. First Prompt Book Due.

Week 7: Discussion of the Scenes presented. Written Responses Due. Midterm Exam/Scenes.

Week 8: "Winter Shorts" Discussion. Design/Lighting/Sound concepts. Assignments for Final Scenes. Basic Semiotics for Directors. Video.

Week 9: Rehearsal Techniques; Actors -- medium and tools. Textbook: I.

Week 10: Discuss FINAL VIDEO SCENES concepts. Genre. Style.

Week 11: Director's choices. Theory Test.

Week 12: Video production; discussion. Director's Check-list.

Week 13: Editing I. Viewing.

Week 14: Film techniques for stage directing.

Lab Theatre. Final Exam. Video tapes and Prompt Books Due.

EXTRA CREDIT
For anyone who wants it, you may report on any book related to theatre directing in a written fashion. Glossary and lists of Recommended reading are in the Master File 331. Watch the videos on the list for "Film and Movies" (films).

@2006 * directing * Grade to be based on -- Exercises and scenework. In class critical response will be evaluated and graded at midterm and final. Your work as directors will be evaluated, not simply mastery of content. Your ability to learn traditions of inquiry and use concepts in the discipline of directing, your ability to rethink and revise work based on instructor and peer comments will be evaluated. Summary: Establishment of basic skills of information communication from script to stage to audience; analyzing texts from a director's point of view; basic stage articulation of viewpoint; development of skills in mechanics and staging techniques.
In this course you explore the visual and conceptual material of directing, and the problems of working in performance--a critical act. You learn to analyze the text of a play from a director's point of view and to articulate your viewpoint. You conduct research: reading poetic realism in relation to history, social situation, and culture; you practice creative use of art and musical imagery. You develop spatial, kinesthetic and visual intelligence through exploration of the theatrical topography of each play or exercise--the moment to moment formation of image, gestus, and idea that constitutes each particular text.

Assignments : staging exercises, scenework, text analysis, writing, reading

Exams : final scene 10-15 minutes in length involving two or more performers. Final production book.

Term Papers : production book

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