There is no such thing as over preparation: Assistant Directing and Dramaturging Shakespeare 's Titus Andronicus
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This SIP comes in two parts, the first being a research.paper, including the things that I researched in order to prepare for the show. I was not entirely sure, what I would be encountering dramaturgically, so I did some background research into Shakespeare's world, his Roman sources, and engaged some of the tools that I found particularly useful during Directing I, when analyzing a script. Being a director is hard. It requires· an attention "to detail, dealing with the ever present ''actor" problems and the wherewithal to step outside of your own work and critique yourself harshly for the good of the production. The director has some tools at his or her disposal that will help to keep the show and the ideas incorporated into it cohesive. David Ball's book Backwards & Forwards provides a useful tool for the director to delve into the play that he or she is working on. In a technique that will hereafter be referred to as Dominoes, the director goes through the script of the play backwards tracing the major units of dramatic action of a show in a progressive fashion. 1Using dominoes helps to keep the major themes and decisions of the actors firmly in place so that making decisions about the "small" things and trying to find connections throughout the play is made easier. Being pf firm resolve about the decisions made also help when dealing with actor "problems". Having proper knowledge of what you are doing leads to a confidence that causes people to trust your leadership. Though scriptural analysis is helpful for many problems, critiquing yourself is still the one thing that cannot be annihilated with tools you must trust. yourself to edit as is proper. However, research can be used to subsidize the agony of self-critique by making sure that you are staying true to the spirit of the production. As a young director, I have found that research of the playwright, sources, and audiences at the time and other productions to be helpful. When I was informed that I would receive the role of Assistant Director for Titus Andronicus, I knew that research would need to be a major part of my job, in order to fully express the combined worlds of Rome and Shakespeare to a modern audience. This Senior Individualized Project is all about the role of research in. the directing of a play, and how much is needed. Though many great directors have found that an abundance of preparation before or during a play can hinder the creative process, can lead to a stale and trite production, I maintain that young directors, such as myself, can only benefit from an abundance of preparation.
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