1st Edition

How to Rehearse a Play A Practical Guide for Directors

By Damon Kiely Copyright 2020
    236 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    236 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Based on interviews with over forty award-winning artists, How to Rehearse a Play offers multiple solutions to the challenges that directors face from first rehearsal to opening night.

    The book provides a wealth of information on how to run a rehearsal room, suggesting different paths and encouraging directors to shape their own process. It is divided into four sections:

    • lessons from the past: a brief survey of influential directors, including Stanislavski’s acting methods and Anne Bogart’s theories on movement;
    • a survey of current practices: practical advice on launching a process, analyzing scripts, crafting staging, detailing scene work, collaborating in technical rehearsals and previews, and opening the play to the public;
    • rehearsing without a script: suggestions, advice, and exercises for devising plays through collaborative company creation;
    • rehearsal workbook: prompts and exercises to help directors discover their own process.

    How to Rehearse a Play is the perfect guide for any artist leading their first rehearsal, heading to graduate school for intense study, or just looking for ways to refresh and reinvigorate their artistry.

    1. Introduction  2. Lessons from the Past  3. A Survey of Current Practices  4. Rehearsing a Play Without a Script: Notes on Devising  5. Rehearsal Workbook


    Damon Kiely is the author of How to Read a Play (Routledge 2016) and is a director, playwright, and professor of directing and acting. He is the chair of performance for the Theatre School of DePaul University, USA.

    'Kiely (DePaul Univ.) provides a bit of history, a splash of personal experience, and a wealth of knowledge from 50-plus modern directors worldwide. Offering tools and exercises to aid in the seemingly mysterious process of directing a play, the book comprises five chapters, the largest of which, at about 100 pages, is "Survey of Current Practices.” Here Kiely provides interviews with modern practitioners, offering the reader multiple ideas and viewpoints to help solve the challenges that occur from opening rehearsal to opening night and beyond. Other chapters are “Lessons from the Past,” which looks at some famous historical directors (think George II, Stanislavski, Brecht) and highlights their strengths and processes, and "Rehearsing a Play without a Script," which offers a brief look at rehearsing devised works. The book concludes with a chapter specifically focused on the rehearsal—the direct interaction with the actors. Though this book does not provide "the path” to directing, it serves as a solid holistic view of the director’s duties. It looks at the subject from a fresh viewpoint, offering multiple ways to reach the end goal—a successful production.'

    - E. C. Skiles, Lone Star College-Kingwood