In some ways the very first job, choosing a play, can be the toughest job of all. There are so many things to think about! But choosing the right script is just as important as choosing the right play. WHAT? Isn’t that the same thing? Nope, they are totally different, and here’s why:
When choosing a SCRIPT, you are looking at things like:
Do you have enough actors? Are they capable of the roles? What about extras or doubling?
Can you give everyone a part? Will you have to recruit to fill roles?
In choosing a PLAY, you are looking at things like:
Will your actors like it and get excited about it? Does the play represent your school (community, church, etc. )? Is it TOO… (Too dark, too silly, too edgy, too preachy…etc.) Is it ENOUGH… (Long enough, short enough, funny enough, intense enough, interesting enough.)
No wonder directors find themselves reading through play after play and tossing them over their shoulders! Choosing a play is like shopping for the perfect wedding dress. You may reject a hundred perfectly good ones because they simply don’t fit.
So what do you do when you have tossed a thousand plays over your shoulder? Don’t try to do it alone…talk to people!
Start with publishing companies. Most have filtering options on their websites so you can find the right kind of play with the right size cast. If that doesn’t work, call them! Most are happy to help you explore new options or give recommendations.
Another fabulous resource is other directors. Even (gasp) other directors that you compete against. Remember that just because you are in competition does not make you sworn enemies! Don’t forget about directors from different sized schools nearby. Most are happy to give you ideas. As a bonus, a director who recommends a great play will often give you tips on how to produce it.
If you are looking for something that is not for competition, try community theaters. But be careful because they are always on the lookout for new members! You may find yourself onstage before you know what happened!
So keep on reading those scripts, and don’t be afraid to reach out to other people. OF COURSE I would love it if you choose one of mine, but like the perfect wedding dress, the most important thing is that it fits!