The Drama Book Shop is pleased to present Damon Kiely and his book How to Read a Play at 5pm on January 19th.
How To Read A Play: Script Analysis for Directors, published earlier this year by Routledge, is the brainchild of Chicago-based director Damon Kiely. Threading together interviews with over forty of the most acclaimed directors working today, Kiely distills the shared knowledge of today’s brightest visionaries into a working process for 21st-century directors. In this panel discussion, Kiely is joined by three of the directors interviewed: Anne Kauffman (Marvin’s Room, Mary Jane), Robert O’Hara (Bootycandy, Bella: An American Tall Tale) and Kimberly Senior (Disgraced).
The work done on a play before the first rehearsal, the first group reading or even the before the cast have met, can be crucial to the success of a production. Directors and dramaturgs must know how to analyze, understand and interpret a play or performance text if they hope to bring it to life on the stage.
This book provides a broad range of tools and methods that can be used when reading a text, including:
- Lessons from the past: What can we learn from Aristotle, Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Vakhtangov, Brecht and Harold Clurman? This section establishes the models and methods that underpin much of a director’s work today.
- A survey of current practices in Western theatre: A combination of research, interviews and observation of practical work addresses the main stages in understanding a play, such as getting to know characters, sharing ideas, mapping the action and grappling with language.
- A workbook: Setting out twenty one ways of breaking down a play, from the general to the particular.
Contributions, reflections and interjections from a host of successful directors make this the ideal starting point for anyone who wants to direct a play, or even devise one of their own. This wide range of different approaches, options and techniques allows each reader to create their own brand of play analysis.
Damon Kiely is a professional director and writer, as well as a full time professor of directing and acting for DePaul's Theatre School. He has directed for Next Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Route 66. His world premiere adaptation of Thieves Like Us was produced by the House Theatre of Chicago and the Theatre School. He served as the Artistic Director of American Theater Company from 2002 to 2007. Directing credits at ATC include Oklahoma! (Nominated for six Jeff Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical), The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Orpheus Descending, A View from the Bridge, Strictly Dishonorable and The Hairy Ape. He also recently directed Weekend by Gore Vidal for TimeLine Theatre. At The Theatre School he has directed There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom, A Streetcar Named Desire, Medea, and Haroun and the Sea of Stories. He looks forward to directing his own adaptation of Nancy Drew and the Sign of the Twisted Candles this season at the Theatre School. Prior to moving back to Chicago he produced, directed and taught in New York City. In New York he directed for the Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Ontological Theater, Adobe Theater Company, PS122, Ensemble Studio Theater and New Dramatists. Damon also served as the Artistic Director for Real Time Theater and was a Producing Director at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater as well as the Associate Artistic Director for the Children's Theater of Maine. He is a winner of the 2000-02 NEA/TCG Career Directing Program, the 2000 Drama League Fall Directing Program and the 1997 Princess Grace Award. He lives in Edgewater with his wife Jennifer and their children, Isabella and Finnegan.