Tag Archives: directing

Directing a scene…

You are often asked the following question:

Imagine you are directing this scene – discuss two or more of the following: acting, blocking (movement on stage), body language/gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, costume, props, set design & setting, sound effects, music, lighting.

Here are some of the things you should consider – the following was compiled by my sister who works in a theatre in London & thus is my guru on all things thespian!


  • ERA – when the play takes place. Think about what kind of clothes people wore then. If you don’t know google it or look for old photos.
  • PERSONALITY OF THE CHARACTER – what can you reveal about them from the clothes they wear?
  • FUNCTIONALITY -will their costume get dirty? do you need a clean shirt for eah performance? how often will they have to change clothes? will they have time? should they wear layers? will they be too hot?
  • MAKE-UP, WIGS, BEARDS are usually the responsibility of the wardrobe department. Do they need to look older? Younger? Hairier?


  • REALISM – do you want the set to look like a real place?
  • SYMBOLISM – is the set trying to show an idea visually?
  • SCENE CHANGES / LOCATIONS – How many? How often?
  • COLOURS & MATERIALS – Real wood / furniture or scenic painting?
  • CONSTRAINTS OF THE SPACE / SIGHTLINES – Are there pillars etc.. which you need to build around?


  • ERA – how does a modern TV look different from one from the 60’s? Should they write with a biro or a quill?
  • FUNCTIONALITY -how are they used? who move them on & off?
  • REALISM / DETAIL – how close are the audience to the props?
  • DURABILITY – will they survive being handled by the actors every night for the entire run?
  • CONSUMABLES – is there food/drink/something which gets broken? If so they will need to be replaced every performance.


  • EXPRESSIONS -raising an eyebrow, frowning, dead-pan, smiling (real or fake?), mouth open, eye contact?
  • GESTURES -posture, arms crossed, hands gesticulating, legs crossed (away or towards?), nail biting, fiddling (with hair, prop), fidgeting, fists clenched, nodding head, scratching head, shaking, spitting, picking nose!
  • ACTING  – speed of movement, position on stage, closeness/distance from other actors, pauses. Realistic acting or melodrama?


  • COLOURS -is it warm/cold/romantic/frightening? Do you use natulalistic colours (daylight) or bright splashes of colour?
  • ANGLES – do you want spooky shadows? brightly lit? muted candlelight?
  • 3 POINT LIGHTING – to make the actors look naturalistic you need to light them from 3 ifferent directions.
  • INTENSITY – from which direction is the light strongest? Is the un/moon shining from one direction? Or is the stage evenly lit all over?
  • EFFECTS/GOBOS – do you want to project a sign / have flickers?


  • BACKGROUND -are they setting the scene? should the audience be aware of them or not?
  • SPECIAL SOUND EFFECTS – eg gunshot, doorbell, phone etc… Does it interrupt the action? Is it expected or not?
  • MUSIC – does it add to the atmosphere? How loud do you want it to be? Is it live or recorded?
  • TONE OF VOICE – extremely important for revealing the mood of the character. What feeling are they revealing when they speak? What volume do they speak at? Can they project adequately? If they whisper, use stage whispers. Does any character have a stutter? lisp? accent?