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Strategies for Playbuilding: Helping Groups Translate Issues into Theatre [Paperback]

Will Weigler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 15 2001
Strategies for Playbuilding is a step-by-step manual for anyone who wants to help young people evaluate what they already know, learn more about the issues that affect them, and turn their perceptions into artistically engaging scripts, song lyrics, or choreography. It offers the reader a comprehensive script-writing process specifically designed to enable participants of different ages, abilities, and experiences to contribute equally - a process that promotes ownership of a script that is the result of the cast's own work, rather than something written for them by an adult. A process that also results in quality work. Strategies for Playbuilding also includes sections on directing, rehearsing, and developing performance skills.

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About the Author

For more than twenty years, Will Weigler has been actively involved in making theatre that promotes positive social change and individual creativity. He has worked with urban and rural theatre companies all over the United States and is a cofounder of Young Actors' Forum, which brings together diverse groups of children and teenagers to create and perform their own plays about issues that matter to them. To learn more about Weigler's collaborative playbuilding workshops, visit his website: www.willweigler.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, yet inspiring! Oct. 12 2003
Format:Paperback
"Strategies for Playbuilding: Helping Groups Translate Issues Into Theatre" is both inspiring and practical. Author Will Weigler brings more than twenty years of experience with urban and rural theatre companies to the development of this award-winning text, winner of the 2002 Distinguished Book Award of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. The introduction's opening sentence neatly summarizes the book's intent: To offer "...the reader a practical, step-by-step approach to helping a group of young people collaboratively investigate the issues that concern them and turn their perceptions into a script, song lyrics, or choreography" (p. xiii).
The 122-page book is divided into five chapters that explain the playbuilding process from the first meeting with participants through to the actual performance. Chapter headings include Developing an Ensemble and Building Skills; Identifying and Investigating the Topic; Building Dialogue, Lyrics and Choreography; Weaving Individual Performance Pieces into a Show; and Rehearsing and Performing.
The key word in the title is "strategies." Every chapter suggests what to do and then explains why this approach is helpful or a necessary step. Useful checklists and worksheets are included within the chapters and appendices; for example, a skills inventory, process checklist, and participant contract, among others. Generous text margins leave ample room for notes.
The step-by-step approach emphasizes collaborative learning at every stage. "The methodology is not designed just for kids. Adults looking for ways to examine and animate the dialogues about issues facing their community will find in these exercises an exciting alternative to more conventional discussion formats" (p. xiii).
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4.0 out of 5 stars This book will inspire you! July 9 2003
By Anna
Format:Paperback
This book is a quick and exciting read, and I got more and more inspired as I went along. It outlines practical steps to help young actors, at any level of experience, transform their thoughts, dreams, concerns and ideas into exciting theater. It does assume some knowledge of stagecraft, warm-up and improvisational exercises, but there are other books for that. This book focuses on creating original works through a group process, which should be part of every high-school curriculum!And although it's aimed at educators working with teens, the techniques described would be useful for groups with any range of ages, from pre-teens to seniors. Get this book, it will give you great ideas!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, yet inspiring! Oct. 12 2003
By "monorom" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Strategies for Playbuilding: Helping Groups Translate Issues Into Theatre" is both inspiring and practical. Author Will Weigler brings more than twenty years of experience with urban and rural theatre companies to the development of this award-winning text, winner of the 2002 Distinguished Book Award of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. The introduction's opening sentence neatly summarizes the book's intent: To offer "...the reader a practical, step-by-step approach to helping a group of young people collaboratively investigate the issues that concern them and turn their perceptions into a script, song lyrics, or choreography" (p. xiii).
The 122-page book is divided into five chapters that explain the playbuilding process from the first meeting with participants through to the actual performance. Chapter headings include Developing an Ensemble and Building Skills; Identifying and Investigating the Topic; Building Dialogue, Lyrics and Choreography; Weaving Individual Performance Pieces into a Show; and Rehearsing and Performing.
The key word in the title is "strategies." Every chapter suggests what to do and then explains why this approach is helpful or a necessary step. Useful checklists and worksheets are included within the chapters and appendices; for example, a skills inventory, process checklist, and participant contract, among others. Generous text margins leave ample room for notes.
The step-by-step approach emphasizes collaborative learning at every stage. "The methodology is not designed just for kids. Adults looking for ways to examine and animate the dialogues about issues facing their community will find in these exercises an exciting alternative to more conventional discussion formats" (p. xiii). The book's techniques provide non-threatening ways to discuss and analyze sensitive themes such as prejudice, sexual orientation, ageism, etc. The exercises can also help rote-taught participants expand their ability to think in the abstract, critically analyze and independently create.
Although the text was not specifically written for an international audience, multicultural examples abound throughout. Chapter three includes nine diverse "pieces" that the author has helped to facilitate from the process stage to the final production. Expensive props or special effects are not relied upon to reach the audience. Most of the "tools" suggested can be easily obtained or adapted for a low-budget context. An extensive list of possible tools is detailed in Appendix A.
"Strategies for Playbuilding" is a book infused with passion and caring for both the art of theatre and the engagement and respect of the participants and audience. It is appropriate for community theatre, schools, and religious groups, and can be easily adapted for the international health and development context.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book will inspire you! July 9 2003
By Anna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a quick and exciting read, and I got more and more inspired as I went along. It outlines practical steps to help young actors, at any level of experience, transform their thoughts, dreams, concerns and ideas into exciting theater. It does assume some knowledge of stagecraft, warm-up and improvisational exercises, but there are other books for that. This book focuses on creating original works through a group process, which should be part of every high-school curriculum!And although it's aimed at educators working with teens, the techniques described would be useful for groups with any range of ages, from pre-teens to seniors. Get this book, it will give you great ideas!
5.0 out of 5 stars Step by Step April 19 2014
By Williec - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Inclusion of step-by-step suggestions built my confidence that I could actually begin and lead a theatre group! An excellent resource.
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