Drama Teachers: Solving problems within play production


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Episode 167: Drama Teachers: Solving problems within play production Two drama teachers and co-directors talk about the process of putting on a play, the choices that have to be made and the problems that often have to be solved. Instead of saying “we can’t do this play” because of the issues, these teachers went to the mat to figure out how keep the integrity of the play intact while using what was at their disposal. An excellent directing discussion. Show Notes The Gift Episode Transcript Welcome to TFP – The Theatrefolk Podcast – the place to be for Drama teachers, Drama students, and Theatre educators everywhere. I’m Lindsay Price, resident playwright for Theatrefolk. Hello! I hope you're well. Thanks for listening! This is Episode 167. You can find any links to this episode in the show notes which are at Theatrefolk.com/episode167. So, today, we are talking process – production process – the process of putting on a play and, more specifically, solving the problems that often come up during that process. How many times have you looked at a play, you read it, you loved it, and the first thing that comes to your mind is, “Oh, we can’t do this play,” right? We’re going to talk to two teacher and co-directors, Dee Sutter and Traci Duffin. They put on my play, The Gift, last year. Based on some really awesome pictures I saw from the production knew I wanted to have them on the podcast. They came up with so many unique solutions and, instead of saying, “We can’t do this play,” these co-directors went to the mat. This is a great, great discussion on problem-solving, creative problem-solving, and directing. Let’s get to it! LINDSAY: All right, I am speaking with Dee Sutter. Hello, Dee! DEE: Hello! LINDSAY: And Traci Duffin. Hello, Traci! TRACI: Hello! LINDSAY: All right. So, both of these folks are directors. What school are you at? DEE: We are at Custer County District High School in Miles City, Montana. LINDSAY: Awesome! Teachers and directors and they co-directed a play of mine called The Gift. They sent such amazing pictures and just talked about to me some of the different choices that they made that I thought this would be a really good conversation about, you know, what is this process that they went through and I know that so many of you go through. Guys, let’s start from the very beginning. What are you thinking about? What are you looking at when it comes to choosing a play for your school and for your students? DEE: I suppose, like most high school theatre programs, we are always long on girls, short on men. We run our program as an extracurricular. We have a theatre class but we also do the play as an extracurricular so we run it as we take all comers. We announce an audition. From the amount of people, the numbers that we get auditioning, we try to pick a play that we can handle. LINDSAY: Oh, so you guys audition first and then figure out your pool and then pick a play? DEE: Yes. LINDSAY: Oh! DEE: It requires a lot of footwork in advance because you have to have read quite a few and have quite a catalogue of plays that you can go to. LINDSAY: Do you come to your season with like a short list? DEE: Usually, yes, and we try to mix it up with comedy and drama. And then, something someone’s heard of so, if they wanted to go off and do something with acting, they can say, “I played a certain character. I was in Taming of the Shrew.” LINDSAY: Yeah, cool. That really says to me that you are student-centered; it’s really about showcasing your students. DEE: Absolutely, yeah. LINDSAY: Do you guys always co-direct or is this something that just happened this time? TRACI: We’ve actually done twenty plays together. LINDSAY: Oh, my god! Awesome! TRACI: We have quite a collection of posters upstairs of all of the plays that we’ve done. But I’m retiring this year so Dee is a little confused as to what’s going t...

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