READER'S THEATRE ASSIGNMENT
The class will form groups of four or five students. Each group will select 6 - 8 minutes of prose that will be scripted into Readers Theatre form, rehearsed, and performed for the rest of the class. One longer piece or several shorter pieces may be used.
Choose prose that has only two or three major characters, ample dialogue, and descriptive exposition that can be treated as narration. Keep away from First Person Narratives.
Knowing how many readers you need to script for, find literature that supports this number of voices. Look at the amount of narration; keeping in mind how many readers you have, decide whether or not you need multiple narrators. If you do, look for different voices, moods or qualities of the exposition that can be divided between the narrators. If the piece is too long, begin editing by removing unimportant subplots. Eliminate unimportant characters and situations too difficult to portray on stage. Lastly, reduce the tags ("he said", "she said") so that dialogue flows smoothly.
Type the script into a workable fashion with each character clearly identified, single spaced for each character, double spaced between characters. Provide a wide left margin so that the pages can be hole-punched and placed into a three-ring binder (see the related notes and sample script).
Plan your use of stage carefully so that character relationships, movements, and time/place transitions are communicated clearly. Remember, movement must be purposeful. Creative use of focus helps to define a space or environment, walking in place can imply movement, and going BTA (back to audience) can effectively remove you from a scene. Creating static and moving tableaux can help show character relationships and plot situations. Experiment with using different levels, chairs and tableaux with an eye toward keeping the action accessible to the audience.
Ample class time is provided for your group to rehearse without meeting outside class, if you attend each session and meet scripting deadlines. Your absence will negatively effect your group and will weigh heavily on your grade as well as your conscience. I will be available during these rehearsals to watch and offer suggestions. Cooperation and sensitivity to others are essential for productive rehearsals. Be sure to rehearse using script binders.
Be prepared to read on the day assigned; all groups will show their work on that day. Scripts need to be in an easily handled holder, 3-ring notebooks work well. A clean copy of the final script draft must be handed in prior to performing. One evaluation sheet naming the readers and selection must be provided prior to performance. The group will be assigned one grade which each member will receive. Have one evaluation form ready for the group. I will only split the grade if the dynamics of the group are faulty; alert me to any problems.