How to Read a Play: Script Analysis for Directors by Damon Kiely; the Key to Directing with Confidence

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How to Read a Play, the Key to Directing with Confidence

They say the first step is the hardest. This holds true in life and theatre. Directors can struggle with deciding how to interpret a play and breathe life into the work. How to Read a Play: Script Analysis for Directors by Damon Kiely provides the necessary strategies to confidently assess any play.

This book provides a broad range of tools and methods that can be used when reading a text, including:

  • Lessons from the past. What can we learn from Aristotle, Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Vakhtangov, Brecht and Harold Clurman? This section establishes the models and methods that underpin much of a director’s work today.
  • A survey of current practices in Western theatre. A combination of research, interviews and observation of practical work addresses the main stages in understanding a play, such as getting to know characters, sharing ideas, mapping the action and grappling with language.
  • A workbook, setting out twenty one ways of breaking down a play, from the general to the particular.

Damon Kiely is Chair of Performance at DePaul’s Theatre School and the author of the plays Thieves Like Us, Prospero’s Storm, and The Revel. He has directed for American Theatre Company, TimeLine, Route 66, and A Red Orchid in Chicago. In New York his work was seen at New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Ontological Theatre, and many others. His production of Hank Williams: Lost Highway won the Jeff Award for Best Musical Midsized. How to Read a Play is an essential tool for any director today.

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