Collaborative Play Production

Course Details

Course Number: THEA 4483  Section Number: 201

Spring 2013

Location: Fain Fine Arts Center

Classroom Number: B120

Days & Times:

MWF 11-12

Course Attachments


MSU Faculty Member
Laura Jefferson   
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Course Objectives

To develop skills in creating a theatrical experience (the play) for an audience.  These skills included interpretation, composition (aural & visual), acting and style. 

To use effective communication skills in collaborating with the playwright, designers, actors, technicians, etc.

To define the function of the director and designer personally.

To use the organizational skills which are essential to a director and designer.

To explore alternate rehearsal techniques and/or exercises for the director.

As designers to work as a facilitator of the design process.

To experience the other side of the auditioning process.

To direct and produce a play. 

Course Expectations

Text:   Stage Directing by Jim Patterson; Notes on Directing by Frank Hauser & Russell Reich.

Seventy-five percent of your grade will be an assessment of the preparation (papers), direction/designing and production of the festival of one-acts.   Class participation is vital.   More than three absences will automatically lower your final grade one letter grade.  The only exception to this is a family emergency or interviewing/auditioning for a graduate program or a summer theatre job.   Please note that this is different than the departmental policy of five absences.  If you are absent four days you will be dropped from the course.  NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS ACCEPTED, NO EXCEPTIONS.  IF YOU HAVE A GRADUATE/JOB INTERVIEW OR AUDITION ON THE DAY AN ASSIGNMENT IS DUE, YOU WILL TURN YOUR ASSIGNMENT IN BEFORE YOU LEAVE.

Production dates:   April 12 & 13, April 19 & 20, April 26 and 27, and May 3 & 4.

The tickets are three dollar general admission. Theatre majors or any one involved in the productions receive two comp tickets for each set.  You may not give your comps to someone else.



---Every Monday after casting we will set the rehearsal schedule IN CLASS for the use of the studio only until March 5 and the studio and the mainstage after March 5. If you miss class that day you will have to schedule on your own.     I will then post the schedule on my door and any additional rehearsals may be noted with your initials in rehearsals lasting no longer than 1.5 hours in length consecutively.

---Please be responsible for making any rehearsal schedule changes yourself.  If you cancel a rehearsal, please be sure to erase/release those hours, so someone else may use that time. Also know that your actors will come to depend on looking at that schedule, rather than the one you may have given them.   

---Beginning with the first dress rehearsal, Sunday Feb. 24, of Sweeney you may not keep anyone, actor or crew member, past 4:00 p.m. during production week.  If your cast members are not on the running crew, house manager or in the cast of Sweeney you may rehearse the usual hours during Sweeney dress rehearsals.  (Though you need to be careful not to be too loud---those doors are not sound proof.)  You may not rehearse past 5:00 p.m. on performance nights.  

---Everyone enrolled in R & P will have a one-act crew assignment.  The directors and R&P people crew and run the one-acts. Schedule your rehearsals accordingly. All directors are required to be at all technical and dress rehearsals. All directors are on running crew for every set of one-acts.

---Each director is required to produce their programs through cooperation with the publicity/box office if no class designer is available. 

---Each director or designer is required to see a performance of each one-act and complete a critique form which will be provided at a later date.  A class critique session for each play will be held in class the Monday following the production weekend.   




Each director is required to turn in a promptbook on the Wednesday following the performance of their one-act by 5:00 p.m.

    Please include the following:

1.  Any cuts or alterations.

2.  Division into units with titles.

3. Division into beats with appropriate blocking and intentions noted.  

3.  Ideas for business, intentions and subtexts.

4.  Blocking

5.  Inciting incident, rising actions, minor climax, crisis, logical climax, emotional climax and resolution clearly marked.

6. Ground plan meticulously drawn and inked on graph paper.

7. Sound plot

8.  Sound cues: “warnings”, and go’s (blue ink), using the alphabet to label.

9.  Light cues: “warnings” and go’s (red ink), using numbers to label.

10.  Prop list

11. Costume plot

12. Other papers and any other pertinent information or research

13. Rehearsal Log:  For each rehearsal you should have a record of what you wanted to accomplish, and then whether you accomplished it or not.  Also it will help you keep track of production details. This is not a copy of stage manager’s production notes. You may include the production notes, probably should, but this is a closer recording of your own directing experience. 



Much of being a successful director or designer is your collaboration with designers or directors. The class after the first week or so will be utilized as production meetings, in conjunction with assignments.  All class members are required to read all scripts.



The theatre department will pay the royalties and for the printing of the programs.  YOU MAY NOT USE the departmental copy machine to make audition and/or acting copies of your script. 



Each director is responsible for scheduling a run through, at the latest, the week before your tech rehearsal for the board ops, costume crew, stage manager and running crew.  The run through needs to occur at a reasonable hour, with no run-throughs scheduled after 10:00 p.m. (Keep in mind the directors are part of the running crew.)All directors have exclusive use and first choice of rehearsal times the week before your technical rehearsal. 

 Each director is required to supply scripts  see that the stage manager supplies scripts with cues marked to :


Stage Manager:  1. Copy of script with all sound and light cues appropriately marked in pencil and with counts noted.

                               2. A sound and light cue sheet.


Light Board Operator:  Copy of script will all light cues appropriately marked in pencil with counts.


Sound Board Operator: Copy of the script with all sound cues appropriately marked in pencil with counts.


Running Crew member: Copy of the script with the appropriate cues marked.  This could be a dresser for a quick change, or if you need someone to ring a ringer or run an off-stage effect.




Schedule of tech rehearsals:

First set:  April 7

Second set: April 14

Third set:  April 21

Fourth set: April 28

Call for directors, designers, board operators, stage manager, running crew and the first show’s actors:  12:30 p.m. Tech begins promptly at 1:00 p.m. for the first show of the set.  The directors for all subsequent shows set their own actor’s call. The shows are teched in the order of performance.  I hope to schedule three plays per weekend, except the first set will have four.  I cannot set the production schedule until after auditions.


DIRECTORS:  To the technical rehearsal you need to bring:

  1. Revised light and sound cue sheets for stage manager and board operators.
  2. When you want to make call for your actors.
  3. Any changes to costume plot or food props.

DESIGNERS:  To the technical rehearsal you need to bring:

  1. Lighting
  1. Magic sheet
  2. Instrument schedule
  3. Circuit schedule
  4. Cue sheet
  5. Gel changes


     a.Dressing notes

b. Maintenance notes

c. Costume plot

d. Any quick changes needed marked in script and worked out.

      3. Properties

            a. Props pre-set list

            b. Prop running list

            c. Prop plot

      4. Sound

            a. Sound set up---speakers, practicals, etc.

            b. sound cue sheet

            c. sound crew member for practical, marked in script

  5. Makeup

            a. makeup design and/or hair/wig designs

            b. makeup worksheets


COSTUMES: I will give copies of your scripts to all theatre faculty.    Elizabeth will give us specific days we may go to storage accompanied by a student assistant.  DO NOT go to costume storage and pull anything without approval.  It is your responsibility to see that any construction or alterations are done.  The costume shop can construct and/or alter costumes for you.  You need to buy the fabric, notions and the pattern (if they don’t have the right one). You need to do this early (a month before production) to give them plenty of time to do the construction and fittings properly. It is required that the director attend the fittings also.   If you choose to do alterations yourself of stock costumes, you need to okay it with Elizabeth. 

SCENERY:  This year we are using the UIL OAP set for all scenery.  You may not paint it or any piece of it.    You may use anything in prop storage with approval of Ms. Jefferson.  Do not paint any furniture without permission from Capt.  With props please do not borrow or use props that are irreplaceable.  After work is completed on Sweeney the scene shop assistants may help you build scenery, props, etc., with approval from Capt. Keep in mind it should require no more than five minutes to change sets.   

GENERAL GUIDELINES: All furniture and props should be stored after every rehearsal in the assigned space on main stage.    After Sweeney we will use the main stage to store furniture and props.   Remember that during UIL OAP all your stuff will have to go into the studio and scene shop.  Please keep studio and the mainstage free of trash, pop cans, cigarette butts, etc.  Failure to do so lowers your final grade.  We will pull a rehearsal prop cabinet and put it on the main stage for your use.   For valuable props you need to find a secure place other than the publicity office or greenroom to store them.    Many directors in the past have stored props in the trunk of their car.

 Failure to return furniture, props or set pieces to the proper place or returned borrowed props or furniture to the person(s) who lent them to you will cause your final grade to be lowered and a hold will be put on your grades.

You may stay in the building after 9:30 p.m. but only if you do not prop the outside doors open.  If an outside door is found open, all late rehearsals will cease.  Make arrangements to use cell phones or the doorbell to avoid propping the door open.

Each director needs to keep Mrs. Jefferson informed of changes in rehearsal schedules. Other visits I will schedule with you.  I need a day’s notice for appointments or rehearsals you would like me to observe.  A portion of your grade is based on organization and preparedness, consequently being consistently late or being unprepared for rehearsals or canceling rehearsals will lower your final grade. 


This course is designed to be utilized as an assessment tool for the Theater Program.  Think of it as an exit exam.  You will be given a course grade based on my evaluation of your work.  The theatre faculty will also attend a performance and evaluate your work as a committee.  You will then receive a written evaluation from each faculty member.  You will also receive a written evaluation from me.


First set:         1:00 p.m. Mon. April 1

Second set:     1:00 p.m. Mon. April 8

Third set:       1:00 p.m. Mon. April 15

Fourth set:     1:00 p.m. Mon. April 22

            1. All scenery is to be completed.

      2. All costumes are to be fitted and/or constructed or pulled.

      3. All lighting instruments, specials, hung, focused and cue sheets written.       

      4.All sound equipment set up, recordings completed and sound cue sheets written.

      5. All furniture and properties obtained and/or constructed.


This preview will take place with all theatre faculty present to evaluate and make suggestions or revisions. It is best to remember this is not a process to become defensive about.  Think of it as a positive in the creative process, not a hostile environment.  When you succeed, the faculty succeeds. 



            Fri. Jan. 18:               Preliminary Promptbook made. (Includes something to write a rehearsal log, your script with space                                                  to write blocking, intention/actions and this syllabus or a calendar included.                                              

            Wed. Jan. 23:             Character analysis due

            Mon. Jan. 28:             Concept picture, photo or collage due

            Sat. Feb. 16:               Mustang Rally – mainstage & studio – 8 a.m. to noon

            Feb. 22:                      Dry Tech/Sweeney 

            Feb. 23:                      Actor Tech/Sweeney  1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

            Feb. 25-March 2:       ACTF Regional Shreveport (Anna, Devon, Kristi,  Marcus & Laura)

            Feb. 27:                      High school performance of Sweeney at 11:00 a.m.

            Feb. 28-March 3:       Sweeney Todd

            Thurs. March 7:        Post-production evaluation of Sweeney      

            Sat. March 9-17:        Spring Break

            Wed. March 27:        1:00 p.m. to ? Rehearsal UIL OAP

            Thurs. March 28:      8:00 a.m. to ?  UIL OAP

            March 28-31:             Spring Break Part II (Easter)

            Mon. May 6:              10:30 a.m. Final Examination period.  We will meet and

                                                talk about the fourth set.



Grading Standards

See course requirements.

Final Exam5/6/2013  10:30 a.m.

Submission Format PolicyNote: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy


Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Seventy-five percent of your grade will be an assessment of the preparation (papers), direction/designing and production of the festival of one-acts.   Class participation is vital.   More than three absences will automatically lower your final grade one letter grade.  The only exception to this is a family emergency or interviewing/auditioning for a graduate program or a summer theatre job.   Please note that this is different than the departmental policy of five absences.  If you are absent four days you will be dropped from the course. 

Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.