Go to Top

Countdown to Playreading…. T – 1: Get Reading

You’ve done all the hard work of organising the play-reading, everyone is set up to turn-up for the play-reading, so all that’s left to do is read the play.

.

Before everyone arrives, let me repeat what I said in my last post.

.

You may think it’s excessive but one thing we (my partner and I) do is to read the play to eachother in round-robin. One person reads the first speech out loud, the other reads the second speech and so on until we get to the end  of the play. This may take a couple of evenings or so. Then – you’ve gtuessed it – we start reading the play again, with the other person starting. That way we’ve both read the whole play outloud.

.

We do this for two reasons: first, to become pretty familiar with all the parts in the play, because we don’t know who we’re going to be playing at the play-reading, as we cast the play by lot on the day; and secondly to exercise our mouths to get the words out.

.

But now, everyone has arrived, they’ve brought their laptops or tablets or smarphones, they’re connected to your wi-fi router and they’re all sitting around looking expectant, so how are you actually going to read the play?

.

Before you start, there’s one more thing you need to do – allocate the parts to the players. You know how many people have turned up for the play-reading, so you use the cast list for that number of players.

There are two main ways of allocating the parts to the players:

  • By lot, letting the gods choose who plays whom. (We use dominoes in a bag.) This is the way we normally allocate parts in the Edinburgh play-reading group. It has a number of advantages: people don’t get type-cast; the casting will be gender and age blind; the focus is on the play, rather than the characters in the play; no one carries the can for the casting. (Note that in Edinburgh, occasionally a pair of players will agree to swap roles, and we’re OK with this, but there is no obligation on anyone to agree to swap).
  • Someone takes responsibility for allocating the parts. You can do this at the play-reading, or well before so you have a ‘rehearsed reading’, but everyone needs to turn up for this to work well.

Now the parts are allocated, everyone selects the part they have been allocated from the cast list, in ‘parts and cues’ format, or ‘highlit text’ format, as they prefer. When they select their part, the script of the play appears, starting at Act 1, Scene 1, in the format requested. You can see how to do this with the Help Video below – just click on the arrow in the centre of the image below:

.

.

Once you have selected  the player number you’ve been allocated,At the top (and bottom) a script will appear of the play you’re reading starting at A1S1, with your part(s) highlit in different colours. There’s also, a list of buttons of the Acts and Scenes of the play,  and you can change scene by clicking on one of those buttons. You can also change the display of the script to suit your browser and your personal preferences. You can see how to do this by watching the following Help Video:

.

.

Before you go, we re-start play-reading in September, for our fourth year, and we’re hoping some other groups around the world will join us play-reading Macbeth or some other play. You can find out more about this initiative by looking at our checklist of activities to prepare for the play-reading:
.

.

Let’s play!

.

Richard Forsyth
‘The Director’
Players-Shakespeare.com

.

If you are using, or thinking of using, Players-Shakespeare.com’s edition of Shakespeare’s plays for production rehearsals or play-reading, why don’t you ask to become a member of our Support for Playreading & Productions Closed FB group?

.

If you want to know how our Shakespeare edition is developing,  ‘like’ our Facebook page, and you’ll get more detailed updates on Facebook on what’s happening.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

banner