What is a Regional Respondent’s Job?
To tell the truth with tact…
A respondent’s job is to respond to what he/she experienced in the theatre at the time of the viewing, and to tell the truth with tact. Each department develops a culture of criticism based on its philosophy of teaching. Some programs emphasize nurturing and concentrate almost entirely upon positive feedback; others take a tougher approach and consistently point out aspects of the performance that are not working. And some do this quite bluntly. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Remember that our effort must be to support what we must assume to be a good faith effort on the part of the company. In the case of a faculty directed production, the respondent must be careful not to undercut a colleague’s credibility with his/her students. With student directed productions, we must take care to notice what has been accomplished as well as areas which could benefit from further exploration. In all cases, it is essential not to demoralize the company.
Before you go
- Initiate contact with the director of the production or the designated contact person
- Confirm the date and time of the performance with the director in a timely fashion.
- Get clear travel directions to campus and to the theatre.
- Make arrangements for reimbursement of travel expenses. The host school pays hotel, if necessary; ACTF picks up travel and meals if the school does not oblige.
- The host school can expect to arrange and pay for lodging if you need to spend the night.
- Many schools invite you to dinner beforehand, giving you an opportunity to engage in collegial conversation.
- Determine the location, time and format of the oral response session.
- Determine if there are student designers on the production who wish to have their work considered for the design competitions. You must, then, look at the work. Offer advice on presentation, if asked. Be sure to check the appropriate spaces on the response form.
- Get the info you need for the cover sheet: running time (with intermission), capacity of house, etc.
- Collect two programs to send along with your written response to the regional chair.
At The Response Session
- Remind the company about the dates and location of the Regional Festival, and encourage all to attend regardless of whether or not their work is selected for presentation.
- Respect the work the company has done in your response
- DON’T – talk about how you directed or would have directed the production
- DO – make the response session a conversation about the work by asking and inviting questions, as well as articulating your response
- Discuss the Irene Ryan nomination(s) with the director of the production. The director may nominate one eligible individual. The respondent may nominate up to one additional student for an associate production or two for a participating production. It is helpful to find out if a preferred student is already nominated. If so, nominate someone else. Working with the school on the selection of an alternate assures someone will be able to take advantage of the nomination. Consider this part of the process a discussion. It’s not helpful to nominate actors (however talented) who won’t step up to the plate and take advantage of the opportunity.
- Determine if the school is willing to be considered for the Evening of Scenes if you think the production would be of interest to Festival-goers (associate entries only, please.)
- Determine if the Director would consider the student stage manager prepared to Stage Manage the National Ten-Minute Play Festival (each region gets to nominate one individual).
- If you are responding to a production directed by a student, determine whether that student should be considered for a Student Director position at the National Ten-Minute Play Festival.
After The Response Session
- Write up your notes and send them off to the Regional Chair ASAP if it is a participating production. The only people that see the written response will be the selection team. Only the response form is filled out and given to the school before you leave campus that night. A copy goes to the regional chair with your reimbursement form. Both the response form and reimbursement forms can be downloaded from the website using a pass code give to you by the chair when you agree to a response. An associate production requires only the response form.
- Consider nominations for Certificate of Merit, Evening of Scenes, Student Stage Manager, and Student Director for the Ten-Minute Play Festival and include them in your report to the regional chair.
- You may be asked for a written response as a faculty promotion or departmental tool. You may choose to write a written response as an individual faculty member of an institution of higher learning but may not write one as a KCACTF respondent. It is at your discretion.
Online Respondent Forms
Written Response (For Participating Productions Only)
The response is to be written to the chair of the region in a timely manner. Failure to follow through on the written response can really hinder the selection process, and I urge you to get this task done as soon as possible after your visit while your impressions are still vivid – let’s say two weeks.
On-Line Response Report
The information on this sheet is essential in organizing the Regional Festival and its attendant opportunities for students and programs.
- Student designers
- Ryan nominees
- Evening of Scenes
- Student director nominee for the Ten Minute Play Festival
- Student stage manager nominee for the Ten Minute Play Festival
Certificate of Merit
If there were truly exceptional elements in a production that you think deserve recognition, please note this on the response form. A certificate is presented for all programs and individuals nominated. In the past, certificates have been given for extraordinary achievement in design and technical areas, directing, stage management, dramaturgy playwriting, ensemble acting, costume running and acting.
Respondent’s Expense Reimbursement Form
When I receive this form along with a copy of your written response or response cover sheet, I will send you a check for the expenses incurred as they relate to travel and meals. Your reimbursement cannot be processed without the response forms (and written response for participating productions).
NPP Response Form
Guideline for the Written Critique
- CHOICE OF PLAY: appropriate for the producing group? Good material?
- OBSERVATIONS AND FEELINGS: As I entered the theatre, I observed….I felt…I noticed…
- PRODUCTION ELEMENTS: Design/Technical Elements: Scenery, Costumes, Lighting, Sound, Makeup, Props, Special Stuff, Scene Changes…
- ACTING: Believability, Physical Work, Vocal Work (including dialect), Ensemble Playing, Moment to moment playing, Clarity of intention, beats, etc.
- DIRECTING: (This is tricky. Be tactful. You are talking about a faculty member’s work in front of his/her students.) Concept, Use of Space, Inventiveness, Pacing, Consistency, Style.
What to do about an “inhospitable” host?
Then, too, there is the occasional problem of the “bad” host – one who offers a respondent little or no hospitality. Some respondents have reported not even begin greeted at the site. Again, let us know so we can address the problem. Host and respondent should be in contact well before the date determined for the visit to work out details of hospitality. Though it is not required, many schools invite a respondent, particularly one who has traveled some distance, for a meal prior to the performance. Not only is a road-weary colleague needing to eat, it provides a great opportunity for collegial exchange and may help frame the oral response session. If a respondent needs to stay overnight, it is the host school’s obligation to provide lodging.
ALL OUR REPORT FORMS ARE NOW ON LINE AND CAN BE FOUND HERE OR BY CLICKING THE SPECIFIC FORM BELOW