Theater Fundamentals: Blocking a Scene

Accustomed to taking their cues from a director, KO student-actors in Kyle Reynold’s theater class took on a new, challenging role -- theater director. Reynolds assigned each student a scene and song from a play that they had to block and memorize: Trinity LaFountain ’22, “Flight” from Dear Evan Hansen, McKenzie Campbell ’23, “A Soft Place to Land” from Waitress and Sadie Margolis ’21, “At the Ballet” from A Chorus Line. The students performed the scenes with one another in the Dance Studio.

Sadie Margolis ’21 said, “The most challenging part for me was adapting to each director’s style which is a challenge in real life for me, too. Even in school, you have to adapt to each teacher’s style. It was cool to see how the other students directed and what things they decided to emphasize.” She enjoyed being a director although she admits that she has a tendency to micromanage the details. Her process involved breaking down the scene so that it was not overwhelming to the actors and making certain that every gesture was a meaningful one. “Every gesture has a purpose, and you shouldn’t move just to move. I think that’s important so that it doesn’t take away from the story,” she said.

Campbell’s scene from Waitress involves the main character, who is expecting a baby, baking a pie with her friends. She is contemplating leaving her husband due to her dissatisfaction in her marriage. Campbell said, “This is a moment of true friendship among the three women and that's why the scene was important.  I wanted to give these characters depth, speak from their hearts and project true emotions.” She learned the difficulty in giving constructive criticism to her peers since she did want to hurt anyone’s feelings while staying true to her vision. “I think this exercise helped me in my own work to not take the criticism personally. The director wants to put their own spin on the characters, and you need to remove your personal feelings from it.”
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