Open Forum

Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

  • 1.  Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 14 days ago
    Friends,

    I'm trying to implement my Stagecraft curriculum remotely and by and large the results have been eh.  At my school, Stagecraft class is a mix of students. I have 41 in my class. 1/4 want to be scenic painters, 1/4 just want to build, and 1/2 of the student body were basically dumped on me and are showing very little interest. With my English classes, drama classes, and stagecraft, I'm being pulled in multiple directions and am having difficulty locating or creating lesson plans to meet my students' needs. Can anyone share with me lesson ideas that have worked in your stagecraft classes? It would be nice to get a few "wins" under my belt. Thanks so much!

    Warmly,
    John

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    John Litten
    Walnut Creek CA
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  • 2.  RE: Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 14 days ago
    John,

    Are you all virtual or a hybrid? We provided the kids with a kit that they were able to cut, pre drill and adjust in the classroom. We also provided hardware. They were to construct a flat. They then had to section that flat into four areas and demonstrate different painting techniques. We provided the paint and brushes. They spend two days a week in the classroom and the other days virtual.

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    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School
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  • 3.  RE: Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 14 days ago
    Crit,

    I'm located in California. We were going to be hybrid and then two weeks before school started we switched to 100% remote, which was a quick pivot and pretty unpleasant in terms of building a curriculum and then re-building a curriculum. To compensate, I looked into DTA's 'Stagecraft without a Theatre' and have been picking my way through it, selecting lessons here and there, but it's not engaging my students the way I wish it would nor producing the results I'm after. I love the kit idea but our theatre is fairly small and the scene shop doesn't have the proper amount of tools to ship off to each student. I will play with that idea. This is the third year my school has had stagecraft and its been a slightly rough ride for me. While I know some tech basics, I was overmatched my first two years and this year I feel like I'm lost in the dark. I'm learning it's trial and error, emphasis on the trial and emphasis on the error. Thank you so much for your willingness to reach out with suggestions! I know we're all doing our best and putting our best foot forward. I'll let you know if I'm able to implement the kits, flat construction, and painting. It all sounds wonderful.

    Warmly,
    John

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    John Litten
    Walnut Creek CA
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  • 4.  RE: Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 14 days ago
    One of my favorite sources for Stagecraft in the virtual world has been https://scenicandlighting.com/lightlabs/
    This has a lot of lighting in there but some of the project ideas for stagecraft have been very cool.

    For a  hands on project that I had them complete in their homes:
    They had to create a specialty/'magic prop ( I gave them a list of options. Pick 1). They had to build the prop using household goods (paper, cardboard, aluminum foil, etc. This was pretty early in the shutdown when everything was closed.)  Then I had them create a video of how they assembled the prop. The final scene in the video had to be the working prop. They could choose from giant puppets, marionettes, or the collapsing house of cards from The Sure Thing (Tom Stoppard). On Canvas, I showed them some examples of the types of props I was expecting. The final projects and videos were fantastic. One student used Tik Tok. Most of the students recorded from their phones. I had a couple of students that were a little "blah" but the majority of the class really met the bar. And students could use the skills they were most comfortable with - painting, sewing, or building.

    Good luck!

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    Tracie Folger
    Grayslake IL
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  • 5.  RE: Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 14 days ago
    Tracie,

    These are wonderful ideas and I'm so proud/happy for your success with them. Thank you for igniting my imagination. I had become trapped in my thinking and have been losing sleep many nights trying to create fresh, inventive, and engaging assignments. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to share. I'm a huge Stoppard fan! The Real Thing is one of my all-time favorites. They way Stoppard crafts language and ideas in that play blows my mind. Unfortunately, this year's batch of Stagecraft kids is going to be drawn in by something a little closer to The Walking Dead scripts, which offer just as much opportunity, but sort of defeats the purpose of theatre. I received a really interesting crop this year :-)  and I have to work with what I got. A hundred thousand thanks!

    Warmly,
    John

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    John Litten
    Walnut Creek CA
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  • 6.  RE: Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 14 days ago
    www.teachtechtheatre.org
    This has several weeks of virtual technical theatre activities that did use a kit sent home, BUT depending on your student base, could easily be done with things at their homes. As a free member, you have access to the lesson plans--there are plans on set, costume, lights, and the elements/principles of design that can fill a virtual semester. The first round of them are focused on design in everyday life and there will be more that are more pointed to theatre proper coming. My students are about 20% wanted to build or paint and the rest found this class on their schedule, so I am taking the design in YOUR life first before connecting it to THEATRE proper.

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    Julie Benitez
    El Cajon CA
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  • 7.  RE: Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 13 days ago
    I've been teaching several classes online for a local film school for the past few months: production design, history of styles, SketchUp, storyboarding, and freehand sketching, and have found that the one thing that engages them more than anything else, in every class, is relevance. As in relevance to making films in the real world.

    The students are mostly college-age, and feeling cabin fever as much as anyone else. So, for instance, showing them how to design a set, by itself, is pretty blah, but really making them think about how the set would help create the correct environment for a real movie makes a huge difference. So we look at real movie sets and why they worked, and then work from a real screenplay to develop a design. Same with my SketchUp class, which is strictly about how to use the software, not about designing the set. So we work from a set (or part of a set), hand-drawn in the production design class, and they learn how to translate it to a 3D model. So far we've done a catacomb, an Egyptian tomb, two spaceship interiors, and a space station.

    The one that really surprised me was the "History of Styles for Production Design" class, which is basically architectural history, a pretty blah subject unless you're interested in architecture. I wasn't expecting much interest. But by tying it into understanding and researching the period for the purpose of creating a set for a movie, and talking about how the styles tied into history and technology, and how they often overlapped and influenced each other, and how movies have often adapted historical styles (or created new ones) to fit the story, the class has become popular and gets a lot of participation.

    Hope that helps a bit.


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    George F. Ledo
    Set designer
    www.setdesignandtech.wordpress.com
    www.georgefledo.net
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  • 8.  RE: Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 13 days ago
    George,

    This is genius-level stuff! I'm on a similar wavelength when it comes to incorporating film and television scripts for study and design. When I was initially hired, I was just drama, then last year I was English (never taught before), drama, and Stagecraft (never taught before). The gravity of my job and the pressure to sustain my drama program while learning how to teach two new subjects has been about as pleasant as sticking my fingers in a fan :-). Then with the addition of going remote has been an illuminating and humbling experience. Your understanding of relevance and how to weave it into curriculum is spot on. I wish I could take your classes! Thank you for this valuable resource information. It means the world to me.

    Warmly,
    JH

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    John Litten
    Walnut Creek CA
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  • 9.  RE: Stagecraft/Tech Theatre Remote

    Posted 13 days ago
    Hi Julie!

    Thank you so much for this resource. I signed up immediately and just got approved. Sounds like you and I have a similar student body in our classroom. Those who elected Stagecraft want blueprints, tools, and time to build (and that's not happening) - the rest are there and turning in semi-inspired work. I'll check out the design your life later tonight. I can't tell you how appreciative I am. You + this whole community is blowing my mind.

    Warmly,
    JH

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    John Litten
    Walnut Creek CA
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