When it comes to modern theater, stage directions—the descriptive text that appears within brackets in a script—are an important piece of the puzzle. They speak for the playwright when he is not there. They provide details about how the playwright has imagined the environment and atmosphere. They describe critical physical aspects of the characters and settings. Stage directions can also be critical in dictating the intended tempo and rhythm of the piece. Whether they establish a production’s overall tone or elucidate particular actions of characters, stage directions help tell the complete story that is in the playwright’s mind. Stage directions accomplish all of this, using a simple convention that structurally separates them from the actual story.
Tennessee Williams, the playwright of A Streetcar Named Desire, strives to give a play “the spirit of life” through his stage directions. Read the following snippet from the opening of Scene 1, and you’ll find it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t achieve that goal. Read More
Why is every conversation about wireframes I’ve encountered lately so tense? For instance, at a recent UX Book Club meeting whose topic was a discussion of some articles on wireframes, the conversation moved quickly from the actual articles to the question of what a wireframe even was. What the discussion came down to was this: no one knows the answer, and trying to find it feels like a wild-goose chase—or like wandering off on our own down a yellow brick road to find the all-knowing and powerful Oz to figure the answer out for us.
The Wizard of Oz asks questions like: What is courage or heart or a brain?Who should define them for us? As I see it, UX design suffers from similar definitional issues. We don’t all mean the same thing when we say sketch or wireframe or prototype. So how can we all get on the same page? There are differences between a sketch, a wireframe, and a prototype, but how can we understand the distinctions and the best use of each? And what is their value as communication vehicles? Let’s discuss what separates a sketch from a wireframes from a prototype. Read More
Recently, I played a character that was originally written as a male. Now, it was Shakespeare, so some gender bending wasn’t totally out of the ordinary. However, in this particular production, we did more than is usual. Things got a little confusing at first—with the pronoun changes and all—but it was fun hearing people called by the wrong gender for a few days. I did find myself having to think about my character in a different manner than I normally would though, making the role a challenge that gave my character-development skills a nice little stretch.
If I was going to play this role as a female, what did that mean for my relationships with the other characters? What did I want out of my interactions with them? How did I fit into the overall picture? I was a female who hung out with the guys and was better friends with them rather than with other females. But why was that so? Did it make me a tomboy? I didn’t think so, because when it came to push or shove, I was a woman, getting angry and ranting just as much as the other females. Plus, the director wanted me all decked out in jewelry. Not very tomboyish now is it?
What I came to realize was that I needed to understand my motives and objectives clearly to make this character make sense as a female. It was going to take some thought and plenty of frustrating run-throughs to find a character who would be believable on stage—one that most certainly wouldn’t live as written on paper. But that’s why we do theater—to experience the fun of the unexpected. Read More