View single post by Awfly Wee Eli
 Posted: Tue Apr 10th, 2012 03:31 pm
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Awfly Wee Eli


Joined: Thu Jan 12th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 32
Zamdrist wrote: What I think I've learned since delving in more is that stage direction should be exactly that, stage direction. In other words, it isn't a place for prose or for expounding upon the scene's mood or character. The dialogue should carry the scenes, not the stage direction.
Spot on, Zamdrist. You have to trust your dialogue to convey your message and your actors to portray it. Especially since, other than in staged readings, the audience will never encounter the stage directions.

That said, there is a need for some level of stage directions, and how much varies by play--maybe even by scene.  I would never write a direction saying "CHARACTER crosses DL to fireplace, toying moodily with her glass." That's an interpretive direction that an actor or director might completely disagree with. Heck, there might not even be a fireplace--or a glass.

But, for instance, I would say (and do, in one of my plays): "TAM crosses quickly, not looking where she's going. TAM collides with JULIA; TAM's drink spills on JULIA's dress." There's still room for interpretation here: where are Tam and Julia relative to each other? Has Julia just come onstage, or has she been there the entire time? How, exactly, is Tam "not looking where she's going"--head down? Looking over her shoulder? Will the theater have the actress playing Tam actually spill something on the dress, or will they "mime" it? But that is Tam and Julia's first interaction. The moment sets the scene for their entire relationship; it's essential to at least outline what the heck they're doing.

So, yeah. Keep stage directions to the absolute minimum, but don't eliminate them entirely just because some directors don't like them. And it's OK to make the ones you do use entertaining. It's good to keep the actors amused.

Last edited on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 03:32 pm by Awfly Wee Eli