Author Topic: PROMPT BOOK: Shakespeare and scripts  (Read 5586 times)

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Frog

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PROMPT BOOK: Shakespeare and scripts
« on: Dec 18, 2004, 01:19 pm »
I'm the SM for my college's production of "Much Ado about Nothing" and I have a question regarding scripts.  We will obviously be cutting portions of the text (otherwise the show would be way over 3 hours long).  The director is using "The Riverside Shakespeare" as his main text (it is a good anthology of all of Shakespeare's works....fyi) and he and the dramaturg are deciding on which parts to cut.  Once we cast the show, how should I go about finding and distributing the cut scripts?  Obviously, Shakespeare is public domain and one can find fairly accurate copies online.  Should I find the same version of the text that my director has online, copy it into Word, make the cuts, print off one master copy, and then use a copier for the rest of the scripts (I won't have to pay for copies because it's a college)?  Or are there other ways to go about this?  My director is trying to find ways to save money and I think that individual scripts ordered from a publisher would be too much.

Also, when it comes to the prompt script, is one column of text per page easier?  To be honest, I don't know a good way of arranging the text, especially since there is so much and it is so complex.

Does any of this make any sense?  Sorry if it doesn't! :wink:
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:14 pm by PSMKay »

centaura

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« Reply #1 on: Dec 18, 2004, 06:07 pm »
If there's a lot of things going on, I recommend one column of text per page.  The system that I use, I have my page of text on the right, and then on the left (the back of the previous page) I divide into two columns, one for blocking and one for cue notes.  I put a circled number in the text at the point where a bit of blocking happens, and then right down the actual blocking in the column to the left.  For me, it leaves the page of text clear for when I put my cues in, so there's less clutter.  I'll put the actual cues, what I call, in the script, but then 'cliff notes' for myself in the other column on the left hand page.  This way I can write down what is happening in the light cue, what the sound cue is and how long it is, etc., etc..  Again, more detailed info that would just start to clutter up my page of text.

My style is just one of many different prompt books styles out there, as varied as the stage managers who use them.  If you have any stage management books available for you to look at, they also will give ideas for organizing a prompt book.

My advice on the script, if you can get an online copy made out, and get one to your director & tech staff early (before rehearsal starts), then that sounds like a good way to go.  If you can't beat them to the punch, beware of how different your script is from the director's - or you could spend half your rehearsal time trying to figure out where the director's page 17 is in your script.

If the director and the tech staff are using actual books, then you might be stuck sitting and copying the script page for page from that book, so that you're all on 'the same page'.

-Centaura

Candy

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Shakespeare and scripts
« Reply #2 on: Dec 19, 2004, 12:44 pm »
I am working on production of Death of a Salesman, and we have cut the script extensively.  I found it was easier to re type the entire script with all of the cuts and then copy scripts for everyone.  That way everyone is on the same page all of the time.

Candy

Didaskalos

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Shakespeare and scripts
« Reply #3 on: Dec 23, 2004, 08:19 pm »
I suggest copying an internet version of the text into a Word document and then you can format the size etc. to your liking.  If you want to save paper, print out a cast member master copy using the two pages per sheet option.  You can print your SM script one page per sheet without affecting the page numbering, and that will give you plenty of room to write stage directions etc. on your copy.  As Centaura has astutely pointed out, you definitely want everyone using the same printed version of the text.  Hopefully the major cuts will be made before rehearsals begin.  You can always scratch lines with pencil later if additional cuts are made in rehearsal.
Do it right the first time;  do it right every time.

Didaskalos

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Shakespeare and scripts
« Reply #4 on: Dec 23, 2004, 08:32 pm »
BTW, unless you are using different folios, you shouldn't see much difference between printed versions.  The different published editions (Riverside, Pelican, Bantam, XYZ...) differ primarily in the footnotes, glossaries, commentaries etc. that they contain.  

However, as SM you may want to see if the school will pay to purchase different editions.  As a director, I have always had five or six different editions on hand because the insight gained from the different interpretations and paraphrases is invaluable when helping actors to understand and interpret the lines.  I always made sure that they were readily accessible in case I wanted something looked up in rehearsal.
Do it right the first time;  do it right every time.

VSM

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Shakespeare and scripts
« Reply #5 on: Dec 24, 2004, 01:28 pm »
You mentioned copying an internet version of the text into a word doc to easily make necessary cuts. While I know where to go for Shakespeare, I am unfamiliar with the site to get Death of a Salesman. Can you direct me there?
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loebtmc

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Shakespeare and scripts
« Reply #6 on: Dec 25, 2004, 06:27 pm »
Many, but not all, great plays are posted in their entirety, and all you have to do is google them.

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