2nd Edition

How to Read a Play Script Analysis for Directors

By Damon Kiely Copyright 2025
    216 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Now in a fully updated second edition, How to Read a Play offers methods for analyzing play scripts from a diverse range of perspectives, giving directors practical tools as they prepare for production.

    Based on interviews with award winning directors, university professors, and experimental theatre companies, How to Read a Play provides practical advice on how to first approach a script, prepare for design meetings, get ready for casting sessions, and lay the groundwork for rehearsals with actors. The book starts with a brief historical overview of famous directors, survey’s the work of experimental theatres that devise their work, and ends with twenty-one practical exercises. The second edition includes material from interviews with a diverse range of directors and includes perspectives on identity, race, trauma, and joy in working on new plays and redefined classic works.

    How to Read a Play is written for anyone who loves studying the craft of directing. Students and early career directors will be introduced to basic techniques for breaking down a script for production. Established artists will enjoy a behind the scenes peek at the methods and processes of directors with a diverse range of perspectives.

    1. Introduction  2. Lessons from the past  3. Survey of Current Practices  4. Reading a Play without a Script  5. Workbook Chapter


    Damon Kiely is a professional director, writer, and professor of directing and acting for the Theatre School at DePaul University. He is the author of How to Rehearse a Play: A Practical Guide for Directors (Routledge 2020) and Play Directing: The Basics (Routledge 2023).

    "Damon Kiely has written a book that is readable and helpful to everyone faced with the very particular challenges of reading plays. Clearly driven by his own curiosity, Kiely examines how talented theater professionals throughout history have found success and true gratification in reading scripts."

    - Anne Bogart, foreword to the first edition