We run play-readings here in Edinburgh from September through May. We’re hoping that this year (2017 – 2018) other groups around the world will join us in play-reading some of Shakespeare’s plays.
It’s now the beginning of August, so we’re running a countdown of the things you need to do to be ready to play-read a Shakespeare play in September.
Today it’s T-9 and it’s time to select the location where you’re going to play-read, and the technology to support access to the plays.
Choosing the technology:
When you’re group assembles to play-read Macbeth – or any of the plays,they’re all going to have web browsers to allow them to read their version of the script. These web browsers will normally be on lap-tops; tablets; or smartphones.
Most up-to-date laptops; tablets; or smartphones will be able to access the scripts, particularly if they’re using Chrome or Safari as the browser.
If you want to be particularly carefull, you might specify that people should use Windows 10 laptops with Chrome; or Apple iPads or iPhones running Safari, not because of any inherent superiourity of that technology, but because that’s what we use, and so you can pretty sure that we’ve ironed out as many bugs as possible.
Perhaps the most important influence on performance will be the way that the Internet is accessed. Connecting to the Internet via a fast outer that supports wi-fi access for up to 12 players is almost certainly the fastest solution. Allowing smartphones or tablets to access the Internet via the mobile phone network is likely to lead to performance frustrations.
If you follow these recommendations you need to access the Internet via a Wi-Fi router. This will mean that the first time you run a play-reading, you will need to allow an extra 15 minutes or so for everyone to attach their technology to the wi-fi router. Don’t forget to have the Router Name and Wireless password available so everyone knows what to log on to.
If this all sounds like technical gobble-degook, perhaps you need someone who is vaguely IT-literate at the play-reading – either to play-read or just to offer support to the players.
Choosing the location:
So where are you going to run the play-reading?
The key requirement is that it should have that fast connection to the Internet via a broadband wi-fi router. That may reduce the options considerably.
The other requirements are relatively simple:
- A room beg enough, with enough chairs to seat a maximum of 12 (or however many are in your group) players
- Sufficient power points for those who need power
- Access to lavatories
- Access to tea / coffee making facilities and drinking water
- Our own group likes to have some small eats at the start of the play-reading and at the end, to lubricate discussion of the play
- You can add wine or other alcoholic beverages if you like, though we avoid them – they tend to lower the standard of play-rreading.
So there you are. That should give you enough to choose a suitable location. Obvious locations that meet these requirements might be:
- Someone’s largish living room
- a room in a community centre / library
- a conference room in a school / university.
Good luck with finding your location, and even more good luck with your first play-reading.
If you’re really interested in organising a play-reading group using our Shakespeare plays, ask to join our Support for Playreading FB group
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