Thursday, December 18, 2008

Elements of Playwriting

Please read the chapter (handout) "What Makes a Play?"
Feel free to complete any of the journal exercises at the end of the chapter.

You should be familiar with the structure of plays.
All plays should have a beginning, middle, and end

All plays are written for the stage (not to just be read)

All plays are written in present tense (not past)

All plays are more powerful if they are tightly written. To be "tightly written" you should avoid using broad-sweeping plots, with many cinematic scene changes.

Plays should adhere to what are called the unitities:
1. The unity of time (plays should not span many years)
2. The unity of place (plays should concentrate action in one or few settings)
3. The unity of action (plays should limit their plots so they are not confusing)

All plays require conflict
Conflict should be balanced (in other words the struggle between protagonist and antagonist should be a fair fight)

Meaning in a play is tied to the action and conflict being presented on stage

All plays should be entertaining (and written to be performed)

All plays should communicate an idea (or belief about the human condition)

Plays are NOT movies. The best way to learn how to write scripts is to read them and see play productions whenever possible.

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