Frank Hebert, a Senior Theatre director in Alamo TX, had trouble with actors learning their lines. So he developed an easy and successful way to use PowerPoint as a teleprompter.
First, Frank enlarges the script in a word processing program, then he transfers only the lines, not the stage directions, into PowerPoint, a program often included with Word. Each character’s lines are in a large font and in a special color. He mounts 19″ computer monitors backstage, stage right, stage left, and downstage. All are at eye level. During rehearsals and shows, a crew member advances the PowerPoint as the play progresses. No matter where the actor is onstage, they can glance at their lines.
The reasonably-priced telepromoters have been very helpful. Cast members don’t have to worry about forgetting lines or missing cues. Actors can begin working on character, emphasis, and other theatrical elements early in rehearsals. Best yet, the company can pull a 20-minute show together quickly, shortening the rehearsal period.
Frank cautions, “Start working with the teleprompters early in the rehearsal process.” Actors need to be trained to glance at the teleprompters, not read from them so that the audience is unaware of the teleprompters. Also, Frank urges that directors plan the blocking to make it easy for actors to look at the teleprompters.
If you use the system, let us know how it works for you.
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