At Play

At Play

Teaching Teenagers Theater

Book - 2006
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Baker & Taylor
Discusses aspects of acting, including voice, movement, and improvisation, and examines facets of production, including writing, space, time, music, and choreography, providing related exercises to hone skills and promote creativity.

McMillan Palgrave

Young people and improvisational theater should be a natural combination—so why do we so rarely find this combo in today's classrooms? According to Elizabeth Swados—playwright, director, composer, poet, author of children's books and of an acclaimed family memoir—improvisational theater is the perfect creative outlet for junior-high and high-school students . . . if only they can be given the tools and the guidance to make the most of this natural yet rigorous art form.

Drawing on her own experience teaching inner-city children in the groundbreaking musical Runaways and in teaching the techniques of improv theater in schools around the country, as well as on her own background in experimental theater, Swados provides a step-by-step guide to bringing out the natural creativity and enthusiasm key to young people creating—and enjoying—improvisational theater. Covering the basics—from freeing the imagination to learning about how to work with an ensemble, from how to master different forms of movement and sound to how to create different kinds of characters—this is the book for teachers and students eager to learn how to express fully the creative talent that all children are born with.

Book News
Swados has 25 years of experience teaching theater to young actors. Her tactics, outlined in this teacher's guide, encourage student involvement in every aspect of a dramatic production; each class she teaches culminates in an original performance largely written and produced by the students. Each chapter discusses an element of acting --voice, movement, improvisation-- or of production --writing, space, time, music and choreography-- and provides a number of related exercises that develop skills and promote creativity. The author also offers insights for effective, non-didactic direction; the management of opening-night crises; and longer-term mentorship of students. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : Faber and Faber, 2006
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780571211203
Characteristics: xxxv, 273 p. : ill. ; 21 cm


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