Far before the house lights dim and the actors inhale to begin their recitations on a brightly lit stage, far before the sets are made, the props are found, and the costumes are sewn, before the rehearsal schedules are sent and the actors are selected, there needs to be a script. Sometimes, a new script is specifically written for a theater. Other times, a director has a show in mind that they would like to produce. Still, there are times when a theatre has chosen a show and all they need is to find a director. However, the one thing each of these situations has in common is that they each will have a concrete script to work off of.
The script is the skeletal structure of the show in text form. Directors, designers, and actors use the script as inspiration to further flesh out and create the world of the play. However, before any of those layers can be added onto the production, there are a few key points every theatre practitioner should be aware of:
- Choosing and obtaining a script is the first step to a production. What do directors look for in a script? If you have a play in mind, how do you obtain the rights to legally perform the work?
- While scripts guide viewers through a narrative like in novels and other literary works, the text is structured differently. What does a script look like? How do you read a script?
- Unlike novels and stories, scripts are meant to be read out loud. How does the text change between the page and what happens on stage?
After you’ve chose your show and obtained the rights to perform it, you are ready to cast the show!