TH 4399
Theatre: Special Projects
Text Coach
2 cr.

Lauren Roth

Office: MPAC 144
Phone: 218-726-7243


Text Coaches are typically employed in verse and language plays that contain more formal and denser language than contemporary-speak.  Pre- production, a Text Coach must be fully informed as to the period, style, and concept precluded by the Director, as all this directly affects textual delivery.  Importantly, a Text Coach only helps to reveal possibilities presented by the text, NOT MAKE INTERPRETIVE CHOICES FOR THE ACTOR.  Final choices are ultimately made between the actor and Director, though a coach might encourage an actor to try many choices in rehearsal, ultimately discovering what will become the most optimal within the given context of the production.

 The Text Coach helps the actor to:

1. Discover and impart the many layers of expression the language includes.

2. Identify the Rhetoric employed by the playwright (how the language is constructed and thus purposed).

3. Break down the rhetoric and understand the choices it imparts.

4. Scan verse, and become aware of all the expressive clues therein.

5. Expose and clarify what may appear to be contradictions in the text.

6. Challenge, discover, and experiment with the many choices often hidden in the denser language, and to make those choices clear for the audience.

7. Investigate additional textual resources and historical references.

Pre-Rehearsal Preparation: CONSULT WITH THE DIRECTOR to get grounded in the production, to ascertain the expectations of the Director, and to express one’s needs.

1. Try and get familiar with the performance space and anticipate the difference acoustically between the rehearsal and performance spaces.

2. Carefully research the text.

3. Define all words that are problematic.

4. Break down the Rhetoric.

5. Be solid with the scansion if in verse.

6. Be prepared to offer the actors additional resources.

During Rehearsals:

1. Begin attending rehearsals as soon as the actors are off book.

2. LISTEN ONLY.  DO NOT WATCH.  Eyes can distract and trick the ears.

3. Give written notes to individual actors after rehearsals, or when they are dismissed, saving verbal notes only for what cannot be written, or what is common  to many.  Take up as little rehearsal time with notes as possible, and always ask for permission from the Director to give verbal notes immediately following rehearsals.

4. Take personal notes regarding what, textually, cannot be understood.  Then schedule a 20-minute tutorial outside of rehearsal with the actor(s) to address what cannot be understood, what has been misunderstood, or what has more possibilities that might be explored, etc.  If an actor has long monologues, tutorials are often very helpful, and often expected if a coach is involved.

5. Listen to runs once in the performance space and make the necessary acoustical adjustments.