Overview

Directing Program Coordinator:

Jeremy Lewis
Concordia University, Irvine
jeremylewisdirector@gmail.com

Welcome to the Region 8 Student Directing Programs. In the spirit of encouraging the next generation of stage directors, we have expanded the opportunities for those interested in pursuing directing at the Festival. For the SDC Student Directing Fellowship, we are looking for experienced directors who will bring a scene from their home institution for presentation at the Festival. We also offer observerships for student directors who are interested in learning about the new play development process. Finally, we will be presenting a range of workshops with directing professionals to expand directorial education.

Please take a look around our website, and the national website to see which program may be a good fit for you. If you have any questions after you have read the materials, please direct them to Jeremy Lewis, Concordia University, Irvine.

Additional Information

Candidates

Nominated by the individual institutions, students who have demonstrated success in direction. The institution must have entered either an associate or participating production in Festival 52 (Regional Festivals in January/February, 2020). One student director from each region will be selected to participate at the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC each April. This award includes travel, lodging and per diem expenses, as well as attendance at KCACTF National Festival workshops and performances.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the SDC student directing fellowship students must be nominated by a faculty member from the student’s institution. Nominated students must have demonstrated excellence in direction. The institution must have entered either an associate or participating production for the regional festival during the year in which the nomination occurs. The participant must be a bona fide student at the time of the regional festival.

Event

Presentation of a short scene. Before the presentation the candidate will provide the respondents with a prepared written statement that reflects their analysis of the scene. The scene will include bona fide student actors, and will be rehearsed at the institution for presentation in a preliminary round at the regional festival. If more than one director participates from the same institution, the directors are discouraged from sharing actors for their projects and the directors are prohibited from acting in each others scenes.

Scene

All entrants will prepare one from the list of scenes. Respondents: The number of respondents is determined by Regional leadership. The respondents are skilled directors who have a strong track record of responding to directing and are out-of-region colleagues or local professionals who are not affiliated with regional institutions. They will respond to the rounds of presentations, will participate in the interview round, and will decide which student director will attend the events in Washington DC. At least one member of the respondent team must be an SDC member.

Preliminary Round

Preliminary round a closed round. All of the candidates (directors only) are required to attend all of the first round presentations. Teachers/mentors who are the nominators-of-record for the student director are encouraged but not required to attend. Other than for the scene in which they are performing, actors are not allowed in the room. After the presentation the respondent(s) will react to the work in front of the closed gathering of directors and teachers/mentors.

Interview Round

Directors who are chosen for the final round will attend closed individual interviews with the respondents. At this time, the director’s book, written statements and approach will be discussed. No teachers/mentors or actors are allowed to participate in this phase of the event.

Final Round

Presentation of scene in a round open to the public. A final round of presentations will consist of up to six (6) selected scenes. The final round will occur at least two days following the preliminary round to allow the director and actors to work on the scene based on feedback from the preliminary round. Limited rehearsal space will be provided. Teachers/mentors may advise the student directors during these rehearsals. A response session will follow the final round, and will include the scene directors, and may include teacher/mentors, actors and audience.

Analysis

Analysis will consist of a prepared director’s book for the scene. The director’s book will be handed to the Directing Coordinator for the region prior to the preliminary round and will be returned to the student director at the final round.

Director’s Statement

The director’s written statement provides the personal, analytical and intuitive framework for the scene. It is a combination of script analysis, research, creativity and personal connection to the text. The statement should address the themes, images and specific lines of text that guide the director’s work, including the context of the scene; where/how the scene fits into the play. Directors are encouraged to consider non-traditional casting for any of the scenes selected as can be supported by your concept.

SDC Directing Fellowship

Additonal Information

Candidates

A faculty mentor from the student’s school is required to fill out the online form to start the nomination process. Once the nomination process has been started by the faculty member, the director will be emailed a questionnaire which they are required to submit and will determine their eligibility to participate. Nominations and questionnaires are due by January 15. Please send the questionnaire to Jeremy Lewis, jeremylewisdirector@gmail.com.

Event

Preliminary and Final presentation of a rehearsed, nationally selected scene. On the first day of the regional festival the nominee will turn in a prepared prompt book and director’s statement that reflects their analysis of the scene. Directors are required to observe all scenes and participate in responses as scheduled. The number of participating student directors will be limited to a maximum of 16 at the preliminary round, and a maximum of 6 at the Interview/Final rounds.

Evaluation

Directors will be evaluated through the preliminary scene presentation, interview process, written materials, and final presentation.

Scene

All regional student directing candidates must present a scene at festival from the following list: 2020, Festival 52 Scenes.

What are the respondents looking for in the prepared scenes?

  1. Storytelling. Does the scene have a dramatic arc? Can we clearly follow the action of the scene? Does the scene begin and end with purpose? Is there a unity of approach and execution of artistic choices?
  2. Staging and use of space/ground plan. Is the space thoughtfully and imaginatively used to tell the story of the scene? Does the staging help clarify the story or does it impose something on the scene? Does the director understand the fundamentals of staging?
  3. Theatricality. Does the director solve the challenges presented by the scene in an inventive and purposeful way?
  4. Casting. Was the scene well cast?
  5. Actor Coaching. Are character relationships clear and compelling? Are the actors/characters in the same dramatic world?
  6. Communication, collaboration and understanding. Is there evidence of collaboration and communication within the company? Is there evidence of clear dramaturgy regarding the playwright, the play, and the nature of the scene?

Other Considerations for Evaluation

  • Does the Prompt Book reflect the director’s work and understanding of the scene?
  • Does the Director’s Statement reflect a clear, articulate explanation of the director’s vision?
  • How effectively did the director communicate a coherent and compelling vision of the play and scene in the interview, rehearsal, and performance aspects of the process?
  • Did the director demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of how to realize a unified vision of the play and scene?
  • Does the Director’s work demonstrate an understanding of the play and scene?
  • How well does the director communicate their ideas?
  • How successfully does the director incorporate the feedback received in order to further develop the scene?

Additional Information (Cont.)

Presentation of Scenes

Directors are encouraged and expected to assist their actors in setting up and striking the set for their scene in the preliminary round. Directors may opt not to assist the actors for the final presentation. Set up and strike for scenes should be rehearsed and happen quickly, with respect for preceding and following scenes. Each director will introduce themselves, their scene, and their actors. Introductions should be made without reference to school. It is suggested that you rehearse the introduction with your actors giving them a signal to begin the piece. Directors are required to observe all scenes and attend all response sessions. If possible, a short amount of time will be arranged for the directors prior to the preliminary scene so that they (and their actors) can walk the space. No rehearsing is allowed at this time, but vocal checks for volume may be performed. If possible, rehearsal time will be arranged in the performance space at festival between the preliminary and final presentations to allow directors to incorporate feedback. If it is not possible to arrange formal rehearsal time for all of the participants, or if the director cannot attend the arranged rehearsal time because of conflicts, the director will be responsible for rehearsing their scene on their own. Rehearsal time may be observed and evaluated by respondents.

Interview

Interview questions may include discussions about the director’s scene at festival, previous directing experiences, future goals in the field, prompt book and other written materials.

Written Materials

(Note: The name of your school and contact information should only be included on the Contact Information page. Your name only should be included on all other materials.) Students nominated to participate in the SDC Student Directing Event are required to bring the following materials to the regional festival:

  • Prompt Book and Director’s Statement (Due on the first day of festival)
  • Current Resume (Due at the interview)
  • Other Supporting Materials – Optional (Due at the interview)
  • Prompt Book (Required)

Those nominated to present scenes are required to present a detailed prompt book. Failure to provide the Prompt Book, including the prepared Director’s Statement, on the first day of festival (time and place to be announced) will result in disqualification. The Prompt Book is an important factor in deciding who will advance to the interview and final round of presentations. The Prompt Book will also be reviewed as part of the interview phase of the process. The Prompt Book is the director’s way of presenting their vision and point-of-view on the scene and play they have selected. The Prompt Book should reflect the dramaturgical and academic approach to the subject of directing. It should contain essential elements that articulate the process of selecting, researching, preparing, visualizing, analyzing, designing, rehearsing, and fine-tuning the text.

The Prompt Book Should Include

  • Contact Information (This page will be seen by the coordinator only)
  • Nominee’s Name, School, Current Email Address, Cell Phone Number
  • Faculty Advisor’s Name, Email Address
  • Name of Play/Scene Being Presented
  • Actors Names
  • Director’s Statement (a written statement that reflects analysis of the scene – see below)
  • Visual Materials (ground plan, blocking diagrams, etc.)
  • Critical Materials (dramaturgical research, text, language, character analysis, etc.)
  • Working Script (for the text with notes, breakdown, analysis, edits, etc.)

Director’s Statement (Required)

The director’s statement is a prepared written statement that reflects the research, planning and approach to the direction of the scene.

Questions to consider when writing the Director’s Statement

  • Your directing philosophy and goals as a director.
  • Why did you choose this particular scene/play?
  • What are you trying to achieve with your directing approach to this scene?
  • How would you present a fully produced version of your play?
  • What are your strengths and challenges as a director, and in regards to this particular project?
  • Current Resume (Required) A current resume focused on directing and theatre-related activities

Final Details

Additional Materials (Optional)

You may bring one additional Production Notebook or Portfolio to the interview. These Additional Materials should be representative of your work on previous productions as a director, and will be returned after the final presentation of scenes. Be selective and choose quality over quantity. Suggestions for Additional Materials:

  • Production Script, Journal, Notes, Blocking, Scene Breakdown
  • Production Photographs, Research Images
  • Directing Statements, Character Analysis
  • Research or Dramaturgical Materials
  • Design Process, Research, Notes (Set, Costume, Lights, Make-up, Props)
  • Videos, dvds, tape recordings or other audio-visual materials will not be accepted.

 

Technical Parameters

There will be no technical rehearsals for these scenes. There is no technical support for these scenes.

Theatre Space

The following block furniture will be supplied at festival:

  • 1 table – small square
  • 4 chairs
  • 4 cubes
  • 1 Free-standing door
  • 1 futon or bed option
  • Lights

There will be no light cues. Lighting for the stage will be preset as a wash and cannot be changed. There will not be any lights up or down. Costumes, Props The director is responsible for any costume pieces, set dressing and hand props needed for their presentation. Sound The director is allowed to use sound. However, there are no tech rehearsals. There will not be a sound board operator. If the director elects to use sound, the director must supply a sound source (boom box). If the director elects to use sound, the director may not operate the sound. No directors will be allowed to operate the sound. Actors or other students may operate the sound. Any additional questions can be directed to Jennifer Holmes, jholmes@whittier.edu.

Student Directing Observership of New Plays

Overview

KCACTF, the Region 8 Student Directing program, and NPP are pleased to sponsor an opportunity for student directors (graduate or undergraduate) to observe professional NPP directors during the new play development process. Although this opportunity is offered as a silent observership, mentoring and assisting opportunities between NPP and student directors may arise at the discretion of the NPP director, depending upon availability of the participants involved. Selected directors will be invited to observe the process of directing a reading of a new play from the start of the process (prior to festival) through the completion of the staged reading at festival.

To Apply

  • Deadline for Application is January 15, although early application is suggested since pre-festival involvement is encouraged.
  • No faculty recommendation is necessary for the Observership.
  • Follow the Student Directing Observership Overview and Guidelines
  • Fill out the Student Directing Questionnaire and send to:

    Jeremy Lewis
    KCACTF Region 8 Directing Program Coordinator
    Concordia University, Irvine
    jeremylewisdirector@gmail.com

  • Once questionnaires have been received, you will receive an email from the Student Directing Coordinator confirming your participation in the Student Directing Fellowship.

Festival 54 Scenes

SDC Scene Selections 2022 and 2023

All entrants for the 2022 and 2023 Regional Festivals will prepare one from the list of thirteen scenes below, selected by the 2020 and 2021 SDC Fellows. 

Monsters We Create by Georgina Escobar (New Play Exchange)
Monsters We Create is a story of love and hope tied together with a strikingly poignant call to action. The playwright uses Latinx Futurity and Sci-Fem sensibilities to bring us the perseverance and creativity of the border region. This work feels like a comic book about my home. It is a much needed, more complete look at “Vox Populi” the voice of the people.” – Sarah Curtis, 2021 Region 6 SDC Fellow

Chasing Gods (Choose Scene 1 or Scene 2) by Paris Crayton III (New Play Exchange)
“Set in 2016, three weeks after the Pulse nightclub shooting, Chasing Gods asks how an African American Baptist family with different ideas about faith and religion find love and aim to come together when tragedy, religion, and death create divides between their own personal morals and identities. Through love and pain, they strive to find each other in a wilderness of divisions. They, like America, are lost and don’t know how to be found. I had read an earlier iteration of this play and have seen some intriguing rewrites in this draft that further demonstrate to me the talent of Paris as a playwright and theater artist. This play also sheds light onto the human spectrum during and after trauma. There are so many opportunities to explore humanity through this piece and I am so excited to see it on its feet. Although the horror of Pulse shattered our world five years ago, discrimination continues in many forms against members of the LGBTQ+ community. This play cracks open a discussion and exploration at the center of this world, 5 years ago, from a perspective we may not expect: the family of a pastor who’s controversial words further shook the community in Orlando.” – Rainah Gregory, Region 4 2021 SDC Fellow

Significant Other by Joshua Harmon (Concord Theatricals)
“I wanted to submit a scene from Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other, specifically the second of three bachelorette parties. The scene presents Jordan, a gay man, struggling with the societal expectations of marriage through the wedding’s (and subsequent changing relationships) of his three best friends. This scene presents the unique challenge of overlapping dialogue at the end, and Jordan’s reaction to it all.” – Matthew Pezzulich, Region 2 2021 SDC Fellow

Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu (Concord Theatricals)
“This contemporary riff on Waiting for Godot replaces the use of black trauma with black miracles. Moses and Kitch decide that the only way off the block is to “pass over” through death. Before killing each other, an officer stops the men to abuse them. Moses performs a miracle that expels the officer’s plague from his body.” – Isabel Rodriguez, Region 8 2020 SDC Co-Fellow

Snow in Midsummer by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (Bloomsbury Publishing)
“This modern adaptation of a Chinese classic play explores society’s betrayal to women and its desensitization to death. Dou Yi is sentenced to death the next day, and during her passionate speech where she places a curse on her village, Dou Yi is fatally shot by an impatient officer. The scene ends with officers and civilians surrounding her dead body, joking about marrying women, cooking food, and climate change.” – Isabel Rodriguez, Region 8 2020 SDC Co-Fellow

Doctor Voynich and Her Children (Choose Scene 1 or Scene 2) by Leanna Keyes (Bloomsbury Publishing, The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays)
“This ‘prediction’ is set in America years after reproductive health care has been made illegal. Doctor Voynich and her apprentice Fade travel the countryside in a converted ambulance dispensing harmless herbs by day and providing family planning services by night. Fade tries to help local youth Hannah complete her abortion, using forbidden knowledge from an ancient manuscript, before her mother and the sheriff can nail them for the ‘attempted murder of an unborn person.’ This play about mothers and daughters is poetic, sexy, vulgar, queer, and a little too real. Doctor Voynich and Her Children provides an excellent opportunity for young directors who are eager to tackle a bold and exposed script. The two scenes included feature unique challenges for creating an environment and tone of the overall post-apocalyptic world while finding nuanced moments of hope and connection. There is lots of space in this script for an ambitious director to explore and stage their own creative ideas and make a powerful statement about love, authority, and bodily autonomy.” – Erin White, Region 7 2021 SDC Fellow

Sanctuary City by Martyna Majok (New Play Exchange)
Sanctuary City is a play that asks us what we’re willing to sacrifice for someone we love. Simultaneously, it offers a beautiful study of intersectionality. This scene selection, arguably the climax of the play, is chilling for me to read because I empathize with each character immensely. Martyna Majok’s ability to write authentic, vulnerable relationships through dramatic action steeped in humor is exactly the reason an emerging director should explore this piece. The way she writes and formats this script offers directors and actors many opportunities for unique, inspired choices.” – Oliver Mayes, Region 5 2020 SDC Fellow

querencia by Benjamin Benne (New Play Exchange)
querencia is a queer Latinx coming-of-age story, written with care and brutal honesty by Benne. The beauty and magic of finding oneself is sprinkled throughout the framework of the piece, so is the (mental, at times physical) jarring reality of what it means to come out in a Latinx household. The characters and their reactions are so tangible to the Latinx experience, at times I felt like I was at my Tia’s house listening to her and my mother chismear.” – Ana Zambrana, Region 2020 SDC Fellow

The Sea Gals by Maiya Corral (script acquired for
restricted use for SDC only from Kelly Quinnett by emailing kellyq@uidaho.edu)
“I want to give ownership of Chekhov’s canon back to those who have never had it.” – Maiya Corral, Region 7 SDC Fellow Alum

She Kills Monsters by Qui Ngyuen (Concord Theatricals)
“This play is so much fun! It embraces and celebrates diversity in all its forms within the text and descriptions and allows for lots of creative expression by way of casting, staging, costumes, music, etc. It would certainly be a challenge for directors who choose it, but would give them the opportunity to show off their own unique voice and style.” – Caity Petterson, Region 8 2020 SDC Co-Fellow

Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage (Dramatist Play Service)
“I’ve had the gift of reading and seeing this play performed live, and it is beautiful in its sentiment as well as in its full-of-life, complex characters, heartbreaking storyline, and simply in the compassion it must evoke in its audiences. This particular section gives the director an opportunity to explore intimacy and tension, emotional height and depth, and nuanced, complex conflict.” – Caity Petterson, Region 8 2020 SDC Co-Fellow