Directing Teaching Drama

A Class Project with Bright Blue

Stephanie Adams is directing The Bright Blue Mailbox Suicide Note as a class project. She’ll be reporting in on the experience along the way, and here’s her first blog post. Welcome Stephanie!

Hey All!

My name is Stephanie Adams. I am a Theatre Arts Major at Alabama State University and as part of my curriculum I must direct a one act play along with the other student directors as a part of a three day festival. The play that I chose to direct was Lindsay Price’s The Bright Blue Mail Box Suicide Note.

For the class each student must go through the process of producing and directing a one act play, and we only have a roughly 2-3 months to do it. This year things are a little different. For starters, we were assigned our production team based on the students taking certain classes. Normally it’s up to the student directors to pick their team, but this way it eases some of the stress off of our shoulders. We are also coming up with a theme since all of our plays deal with some very thought provoking subjects. We have yet to decide on what the theme is, but as soon as we do, I’ll let you know!

Because this is a class project, I must meet certain requirements to pass. One of the major ones is we must have a prompt book. This book is the Bible for my show, and it must be meticulously kept. Many students that have directed very good shows in the past have failed because their prompt book was incomplete. In this book, I must have documentation for everything that is seen in the final production of this play from costume choices, set pieces, props, and lighting to publicity, information on my cast and crew, and budget. Even if was something as silly as a picture of a pink rabbit hat that I wanted one of the characters to wear, it needs to be in the book.

The next requirement is directing the play. I, along with my crew, must take my vision and make it into a realized production that is no more than 25 minutes long. If we go over that time, it is quite possible that we might fail the class. Of course under these two main requirements there are sub-requirements such as things required to be in our prompt book, and our rehearsal techniques.

The festival itself is a bit crazy. It takes place over three days in Alabama State University’s Department of Theatre Arts Leila Barlow Theatre (or as I fondly refer to it as home). This year we have eleven directors with shows so drastically different and thought provoking that it’s going to be very difficult to just come and watch a single show. As soon as a show is over, the director gets critiques from the professors and other audience members, while at the same time the next director’s crew is getting the stage set up for their show. Once a show has been introduced by the director, they must sit in the audience next to their professor, and let their stage manager take the reins of their show. Then it’s their time for critiques, and the process repeats until the last show of the night.

On the night a show goes up, prompt books are due. After the shows are over for the night, the next nights show has one more tech rehearsal before their show goes on the next night. It is a crazy and hectic process. In years past, I have participated as an actor and lighting designer. This year, it’s my turn to let my ideas spill out on stage, and boy can’t I wait!

That’s all I have to tell you for now. Stay tuned for my next post!




About the author

Lindsay Price