Action! IB Theatre students take the reins by developing their own director’s notebooks

February 12, 2021

Students in the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Theatre course recently submitted a longform director’s notebook assignment that they have been working on since late November. It’s a culminating project for the class that required students to explore a published play of their choice and develop their own 20-page director’s notebook that, this month, was submitted to the IB organization for assessment.

Taught by Theater Director and English teacher Jennifer Guarino, students in the class worked on their notebooks for approximately two months: five weeks prior to the end of the calendar year, followed by two to three additional weeks this semester.

As part of the assignment, students had to explore ideas for how and where they would stage their play, develop a director’s vision, and consider all elements of the show, including set design, lighting, sound, costuming, and performance. In addition to that, they also had to choose two important moments from the play and detail how they would present those scenes in their production. Students used the graphic design platform Canva to assist in developing their notebooks.

  • "Pipeline"

Students Caroline Fishbein ’21 and Maddie Silano ’21 focused their director’s notebooks on the 2012 play “Disgraced” by Ayad Akhtar and the 2017 play “Pipeline” by Dominique Morisseau, respectively. “My biggest takeaway was gaining new insight into the directing process as a whole, and all the stages and phases that go into it,” Fishbein said.

Beyond learning about the various elements behind a theater performance, Silano learned “about creating and following through with a vision for a play by focusing on themes that I wanted to get across to the audience.”

Fishbein began researching the play—including learning about Akhtar and why he chose to write “Disgraced”—to get a better understanding of the work. With the project now completed, she has gained confidence in her own abilities as an actor and knowledge of theater. “By going through the process firsthand and having to make so many critical decisions, I have a new respect for the process and the people who choose this as their career. I feel that this project helped me trust myself to make those critical choices to ensure my directorial intention was portrayed.”