Dear List,

I am in the process of researching ways we might expand the multi- 
media resources we use to teach Theatre History at the University of  
Waterloo. Is anyone using software or other digital resources that you  
find particularly useful in research or classroom teaching?

I am looking for recommendations of programs or protocols that perform  
theatrical functions of any kind, ranging from extracting scene  
divisions & individual characters' lines from a text, to creating 3-D  
set models to allowing users to assign blocking, props & costumes,  
control pace, record voices, or anything else that strikes you as  
interesting (I've made a list of functions that occur to me below, but  
don't feel obliged to wade through it!). These could be as low-end as  
tagging protocols for digital texts (such as Internet Shakespeare  
Editions') or as high end as professional programs like Wysiwyg (about  
which I know very little).

Many thanks,

1. tag french scenes in a text (scene breaks determined by actors'  
entrances or exits)
2. permit user to cut text (without losing original)
3. permit user to enter text (to an existing 'play' or 'blank page')
4. permit user to enter stage directions (description of action)
5. permit user to change and/or enter new character assignments

1. tip the stage so we can see an elevation rather than a ground plan
2. adapt the shape of the stage (either to a limited set of "standard"  
orientations eg. thrust, amphitheatre, round, channel or preferably  
allow user to define - extending 'stage' to non-traditional or non- 
theatrical spaces)
3. adapt audience orientation (distance from stage, rake of seating,  
numbers of audience members, etc.)
4. pie-in-the-sky download images or 3-D models of historical or  
existing theatres (eg. Greek amphitheatre at Dionysos, Globe theatre)  
and block inside them and/or transfer user's blocking to models  
already existing (eg. in Second Life)

1. permit users to block character movement
2. permit addition of 'business' (action not necessarily associated  
with words or stage directions)
3. permit orientation of performer's body (noses?)
4. permit users to program in more than one blocking scheme for the  
same text
5. permit users to select & compare alternative choreographies on the  
same screen
6. add optional directional arrows/ mouse tails to trace movements
7. pie-in-the-sky: abstract blocking from video (eg. to compare my  
blocking with Giorgio Strehler's or Peter Brook's)

1. control pace of delivery of individual lines & cues (ie. not simply  
slowing or speeding up everything)
2. mark 'pace of average ordinary speech' on pace control

1. abstract information from text about which characters are in which  
french scenes & put into a chart for doubling - automate this somehow

Props/costumes (object placement)
1. permit user to enter a set of objects?
2. associate objects with characters on a moment-by-moment basis
2. associate objects with the 'set' or 'space' (ie. 'block' an object  
as if it were a person)

Abstractions of what's programmed in:
1. storyboard of blocking 'tableaux' at key moments
2. graph of character traffic (numbers of chars on stage)
3. high-speed 'flow-through' of all choreography
4. estimate running time based on cuts/business/pace
5. track individual props or costume pieces

Jennifer Roberts-Smith, PhD
Assistant Professor, Drama
University of Waterloo

Modern Languages Building 131A
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
519-888-4567 ext. 35785
fax: 519-725-0651
[log in to unmask]