Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Play Structure & the Monologue Play

Done with your monologue plays? Please do the following to prepare to turn in the first draft script:

1. Review your writing and the overarching development of your scenes and speeches.

2. Identify your beginning (inciting incident) and climax (point of highest tension in your play). If you don't have one, build these into the script or rearrange the most climactic moment to be near the end of the play, if not the end.

3. The 10-minute monologue script is due Friday by the end of class.

Play Structure (intro):

Ever wonder about the spelling of playwright? Why not playwrite? Well, it's because a "wright" is someone who builds. The idea is that a playWRIGHT carefully constructs and builds a play. We craft plays, not just write them.

Way back in antiquity, Aristotle (that famous Greek philosopher) wrote a book called the poetics about how to write a play. He said that every play needs the following elements:
1. Plot
2. Character
3. Thought (by which he meant theme)
4. Spectacle (special effects, props, costumes, scenery, etc.)
5. Diction (effective dialogue)
6. Song (music)
Apart from #6, all plays usually include these things. Musicals, film, and opera incorporate all of the elements rather effectively. Most contemporary plays include non diegetic sound between scenes or before an act to set a tone. Dialogue can be beautifully written (and with enough imagery and detail) can come close to song.

We know that a play needs conflict because all plays involve human struggle. That's what they are written to examine. A playwright is like a philosopher in that all effective plays (even the funny ones) deal with human struggle and use human themes to communicate the human condition. Plays are an attempt to understand some truth about humans and our world. Make sure your play speaks to this tradition.

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