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The next time you go to a theater to watch a play, give the actors and the people involved in putting up the entire play he applause they truly deserve. he performance you get to see is the end product of a few months of hard work.

The birth of a play lies in the mind of the playwright. He may have an interesting story to tell. He may also feel strongly about a recent debate on a topic like inter-racial marriages and consequently, write a play about this.

Another crucial person involved is the director. he is the person who decides how the play should be acted out. Directors have different styles of presenting plays, even identical plays. hat is why you sometimes get to see plays of the same title being staged by different theater groups at different points in time.

The second stage of 'assembling' a play involves mainly the production team and the designers. The production team consists of the production manager, stage managers and the designers. Sometimes, the production manager and the stage manager may be the same person. This depends on the size of the theater company and the budget for the entire production. The bigger the company, the more funds it will probably have and hence, the budget will allow for more people to be involved.

The production manager ensures that the plans drawn up by the costume, sound and light designers are carried out. Stage managers sit in during rehearsals and take note of the director's wants. The light designers design the lighting to give the play its various moods and help convey the story behind it. They decide what color and type of lights to use. Sound designers try to create the sound effects the director wants, adding on others they think is necessary for the play to achieve its intended effect. For example, a comedy would have contrasting lights and sound effects from a tragedy. It is also at this stage that the actors are selected. If the company ha its own company of actors and actresses, then time need not be wasted on auditions. If this is not the case. then audition advertisements will be placed in the newspapers.

Once the 'cast' (which is made up of the actors and actresses) is formed, rehearsals will commence. The cast usually continue with their rehearsals till the day before their actual performance. The day of performance is the busiest day for a particular group of people we call the 'crew'. They help the stage managers ensure the costumes and props are put in place help clean up the theater before the performance and also help the lighting designers to fix the lights at the precise positions.

Ina  theater, you watch the play without knowing the process of putting it up. the next time, do remember to applaud not just for the actors and actresses, but also for the 'unseen' people involved as well.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. How long does it take to prepare a play for staging ?
  2. What are two possible reasons for a playwright to write a play ?
  3. Why are the same plays staged by different directors at different points in time ?
  4. Under what circumstance will the production manager and the stage manager not be the same person ?
  5. Which line in paragraph 5 suggests that the stage manager works more closely with the director than the production manager ?
  6. in which two aspects are lighting important to the play as a whole ?
  7. Why do some theater companies need to organize an audition for actors and actresses ?
  8. When do rehearsals usually end ?
  9. Who are the 'unseen' people involved in the production of a play ?
  10. Why are the people 'unseen' ?
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Answers
 

1.

It takes a few months.
 

2.

He may have an interesting story to tell or he wishes to address recent issues that he may feel strongly about.
 

3.

Different directors have different ways of presenting the same play.
 

4.

If the theater company is large, then the company will probably be able to hire different people for the two jobs.
 

5.

The line is 'Stage managers sit in during rehearsals and take note of the directors' wants.'
  6. It helps to create the various moods in the play and convey the story behind it.
  7. They do not have their own company of actors and actresses.
  8. They end on the day before the performance.
  9. They are the playwright, director, designers and crew.
  10. They do not appear on stage, but are involved in work before and after the play is staged (or before and after the performance).
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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