Forum Participant Guidelines

Where & When: Student forums will be held after each block of shows.  Room assignments will be explained at the opening of the festival.  This information will be posted in the lobby and at the registration desk. A marking on the student’s nametag will determine discussion group assignment. Directors will be given stickers to divide their students among the Forums.

Purpose: The purpose of Student Forums at a drama festival is to give students the opportunity to exchange ideas and to ask questions relating to the productions they have just seen.  This is intended to be an educational experience for all.  Each group will be comprised of students from all production companies (when ever possible).

Do & Don't:
  • Do listen to what everyone has to say in the forum and think about it. What someone says may start a whole new discussion.
  • Do not interrupt when someone else is speaking.  Refrain from side conversations during the discussion. Keep focused on the one discussion at hand.
  • Participation by everyone is greatly encouraged. Everyone should have the opportunity to voice their comments and ask questions.

Forum Format:
Choreographer Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process is a widely used method for responding to artists' work and a great tool to introduce to students. This is a modified version.
The Process engages participants in three roles: 
  • The performing company offers a work-in-progress, the play, for review and feels prepared to question that work in a dialogue with other people, everyone in the forum; 
  • Respondents, audience members, committed to the artist’s intent to make excellent work, offer reactions to the work in a dialogue with the artist; and 
  • The facilitator initiates each step, keeps the process on track, on time, and works to help the artist and respondents use the Process to frame useful questions and responses.
The Critical Response Process takes place after a presentation of artistic work. Work can be short or long, large or small, and at any stage in its development. The facilitator then leads the artist and respondents through four steps: 
  • One Word Reactions: Everyone in the forum has the opportunity to throw in a one-word reaction to the play. Be sensitive. This is just intended to get the ball rolling.
  • Performing Company Members as Questioner: Performing company members ask questions about their work. After each question, the respondents answer. Respondents may express opinions if they are in direct response to the question asked and do not contain suggestions for changes.
  • Neutral QuestionsRespondents, audience, ask neutral questions about the work. The performing company members respond. Questions are neutral when they do not have an opinion couched in them. For example, if you are discussing the lighting of a scene, “Why was it so dark?” is not a neutral question. “What was the point of (goal or idea behind) the lighting concept?” is neutral. Do your best.
  • Statements of MeaningRespondents state what was meaningful, evocative, interesting, exciting, striking in the work they have just witnessed.
Suggested topics for Discussion:
  • Voice and Diction
  • Characterization
  • Interaction
  • Physical Skills
  • Directing
  • Make-up
  • Costuming
  • Set 
  • Interpretation
  • Technical
  • Staging
  • Blocking
  • Tempo
  • Lighting
  • Sound