How to Direct a Play

By Erica Dallas ; Updated September 15, 2017
Directors should make sure that actors know their places on the stage.

When directing a play, the director’s main role is to fully manage the production by understanding how to delegate responsibility, inspire the actors and crew, make sound decisions and put together a compelling production that aligns with the script. The director must devote an inordinate amount of time and energy to ensuring that the cast knows their lines, the props are built and working, the rehearsals are running smoothly, the lights and audio are working and a number of other production tasks.

Read the play over and over again until you fully understand the plot, characters, dialogue, setting and overall theme of the play. This will help in realizing your vision for how you want this play to be executed.

Compose a scene sketch of how you envision the play. Take a notepad, plain white printing paper or even notecards and illustrate where you want certain characters on the stage. This will be handy to reference during rehearsals.

Encourage the actors to portray their characters in a way that does the play justice. Write down notes on each actor to aid in your critique. If the actors are not feeling comfortable or are clashing, have them try different improvisation exercises to get them focused and put the rhythm of the play back on track. Have actors practice their lines and give pointers on their style and delivery. Be upfront with your critique to avoid wasting time. Actors will also have questions about the backstory or biography of their character, so have pertinent points available for them.

Be assertive with and supportive of both the cast and the stage crew. Everyone looks at the director to guide and motivate them throughout the project. Be calm even in during challenging scenarios.

Make sure that the stage manager is scheduling regular rehearsals. Sit in different sections of the theater to ensure that you can hear the actors. Make sure the lighting is satisfactory and not too bright or too dark. Time the cues for each entrance and exit so that the play flows in a reasonable time. Overall, the director should ensure that each of the elements of production is running well.

About the Author

Erica Dallas has been published in periodical such as "The Commercial Appeal," "MidSouth Magazine" and "Black Enterprise Magazine." She is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in sociology. Erica is currently pursuing a Master of Science in teaching.