Communication in Theatre Directing and Performance: From Rehearsal to Production

by Jennifer Lanipekun


For those wishing to develop their professional voice in theatre, it is common to draw on practical training and experiences as their main foci. Observational undertakings, apprenticeships, and personal endeavours are also customary ways to further this development of their persona as director or performer. There has been little in the way of academic research or study of general principles to open the door to formal discussion of the theatrical processes involved in creating a production. Common approaches are personal (mainly autobiographical or context-specific) assessments that recount individual episodes and milestones within the careers of well-known and respected individuals. Although such methods are informative and often interesting, formal analytical tools to undertake production analyses and intellectual comparisons are still needed.

This is the first study that attempts to apply a systematic process to the mysteries of directorial communication within a theatrical setting. Categories created using this methodology make comprehensive breakdown and analysis possible of those elusive interpersonal interactions, the communication flow, during the period of rehearsal leading to a production. As such, the case studies make available some of the inner individual experiences from each company’s endeavour, the artistic journey, successes and pitfalls, viewpoints and reflections of those involved, the changing styles of communication, and thus, many important lessons that would be otherwise completely unavailable to a wider audience. Whilst centring specifically on opera as a medium, the examination unpicks general processes of theatrical rehearsal, profiling individuals at work in a systematic way that begins to uncover and identify patterns of behaviour. The study, thus, draws important lessons from observation of that process which can then be applied to future experience, assisting the novice especially, whose previous recourse was mainly limited to trial-and-error approaches within their own personal production experience.

Communication in Theatre Directing and Performance is an important addition to the general study of theatrical performance communication and its analysis. The case studies and interviews are especially helpful because the reader will not only be able to read directly the views and experiences of professionals at work but also to unpick and analyse those processes taking place over a period of rehearsal.

Its ability to bring into relief the practices of theatrical professionals makes this study an invaluable option for university drama departments, colleges of drama training, as well as for individuals at a more advanced point in their professional existence who are looking to evolve their understanding and artistic style.


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