The most important thing to know is that you don't have to fill in every field. If you just want to search for a play with exactly 15 male characters, just enter that and hit "Search."
Once you have your search results, you can choose to sort them by clicking on the column header. You can sort by everything except Authors and Genres. The arrow next to the column indicates if you are sorting that column in ascending or descending order; an arrow pointing to the left indicates that you are not sorting the results by that column. All searches are limited to 200 results. If you enter too general a query, you will be prompted to add search criteria to reduce the number of results. You can change your search criteria simply by not entering a value for a field: for example, if you previously searched for a play with exactly 15 female characters, you can remove the female character restriction either by deleting the "15", or by clicking on the "Between" button and not entering any information.
When searching by keyword, keep in mind that we will search for that exact phrase. If you enter "hot cat" into the Title field, you will get a match for "My Hot Cat Story," but it will not match "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". Similarly, searching for "cat" will not find "Cats."
Unfortunately, not all of our plays have complete data. If you try to search against a value that is missing on a play, that play will automatically be excluded. For example, if you look for a play with exactly 15 characters, any play that is missing character data will not appear. Only plays where we know there are exactly 15 characters will be shown.
All fields are considered to be ANDed together-- in English, this means that if you enter a value for title and total characters, you will see only those plays that match BOTH those criteria, as opposed to seeing the plays that match EITHER criteria.
As mentioned above, searching for a keyword in the title will find that exact phrase. Searching for "hot cat" will not find "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," nor will "cat" find "Cats."
If you know the exact title of the play, searching by title without entering any other search parameters is the quickest way to find your play.
Searching by author has two quirks:
When entering values, it is easiest to search by last name only.
If you want to enter a full name, enter it as "Firstname Lastname." We will always assume that the first word entered is the first name, and the last word is the last name.
- If you enter the author's name by itself, instead of matching against plays, we will try to find that author in the database, and the search results will show only writers.
- If you enter an author's name along with other search criteria, such as runtime, you will then see plays matching your search criteria where the name you entered is either a author, musician, or lyricists for that play. Please note that since we only display the author in the search results, you may not see the name you entered until you click on a specific play.
Genre is the only field in the search page where plays matching any selected value will be displayed-- if you choose comedy and drama, then plays matching either comedy or drama will be displayed.
To select multiple genres, hold down the CTRL key (the open-Apple key on Macs), and click on each genre. You can also unselect a genre by holding down the CTRL key and clicking on it again.
When searching for the number of characters in a play, you have two options-- you can look for either an exact number of characters, or you can search for plays against a range of characters. If you search against a range, say between 14 and 16, plays with 14, 15, and 16 characters will be displayed.
Because the runtime will often vary in length, depending on who puts on the production, and how the director might make changes to the play, we ask that people entering plays provide an approximate length for the runtime.
Because of this, it is impractical to search for a play based on the exact runtime, so we don't allow it. If you really want a play that's going to last exactly 45 minutes, you can enter 45 for both values, but the number of results returned will rapidly increase as you increase the range.
Like characters, you can either look for plays with an exact number of acts, or acts between a certain range.
One thing to note-- if we don't know how many acts are in a play, we leave it blank. Searching for a play with 0 acts will not show these plays.
As mentioned above, searching for a keyword in the synopsis will find that exact phrase. Searching for "hot cat" will not find "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," nor will "cat" find "Cats."
Synopsis keyword searching is best used if you remember a keyword in a synopsis you have previously seen, or you are looking for a range of plays about a certain theme (i.e. ‘Christmas’).
You can use this guideline to eliminate plays that might have overly elaborate staging requirements.
Simple would indicate that the set is either bare, or can be built using simple items. Average would indicate that the set will require some construction to complete. Complex would indicate multiple sets, multi-level or rotating sets, or heavy special effects.
You can use this field to limit your search to showing only plays, only musicals, or both plays and musicals.