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Big Picture Blocking: Staging Your Play Outside-In

Created by Todd Espeland

Working in educational theatre I know how easy it is to get bogged down in actor coaching and away from the bigger picture storytelling when directing a show. I saw a need for a method of text analysis and physical staging tools that help the director stay focused on the bigger picture of telling the story of the play.

This class is in two parts: The first consists of the text analysis tools P.A.S.T.O and Major Dramatic Question. From these tools you will brainstorm keywords to define your vision of the story.

In the second part of the class you will focus on taking the information generated in the text analysis and crafting the ideas into vibrant physical pictures through an exercise called Starburst.

10 Modules
2 hours, 3 minutes
6 Credit Hours

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction 4:49 FREE PREVIEW
Lesson 2: Warmups 11:46 FREE PREVIEW
This module covers the importance of warmups for both your body and mind in the theatre classroom. Warmups help to lay the foundation for what you are going to do next. Two specific warmup examples are introduced and demonstrated.
Lesson 3: PASTO 17:40
Learn this method of text analysis that will help you identify the major pillars of storytelling in the play and to come up with ideas to help conceive the play and actually put the play into production.
Lesson 4: Keywords 15:22
Keywords create specific ideas that you can then implement on-stage to tell the story of the play.
Lesson 5: PASTO & Hamlet 18:40
This module takes what you’ve learned about PASTO and Keywords and gives you concrete examples using Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Lesson 6: Starburst 10:56
Starburst is going to consist of learning a series of design elements that are used in dance and that are used in visual arts. These design elements are intended to create harmony, direction, tension, and storytelling within your pictures.
Lesson 7: Starburst: Part Two 14:52
This module continues on with the tools of the “Starburst” model.
Lesson 8: Building Pictures 13:05
This module reviews the elements of Starburst and then walks the viewer through actually building pictures using the elements such as repetition and filling space.
Lesson 9: Starbust, PASTO & Hamlet 10:04
This module continues to build on the work done with PASTO, Hamlet and Starburst. You’re offered concrete examples of the exercises as well as side coaching information.
Lesson 10: Wrap Up 5:57
A review of the tools presented in this class that will help you to become a visionary director and craft plays that are vibrant and are exciting worlds for your actors to play in and for your audience to experience.

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Standards Addressed

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