Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Oleanna: Conclusion; David Ives; Driving Miss Daisy; The Dramatic Triangle

Mamet's advice...

After we finish Oleanna this morning, let's look at David Ives collection of plays. We'll start with "Sure Thing"--a short one-act based on an improv game, with the contemporary issue of dating.

Find out more information about David Ives at this link.

Let's read the short plays "Sure Thing", "Universal Language", and "Variations on the Death of Trotsky" by David Ives.

These plays use what we call "The Dramatic Triangle"--let's take a look!
  • 2 characters in a story create a relationship. Relationships are often tested by the demands or conflicts of the story and undergo changes that affect the characters involved in positive or negative ways. 
  • A stronger choice is not a linear connection between two characters, but a triangle connecting 3 points. There is often a third "character" that affects what happens between 2 characters. I.E., a dramatic triangle.
  • The role or identity of the 3rd character (the third actor) can change from beat to beat or scene to scene.
Complete the task as suggested by the handout. In your play draft, create a dramatic triangle (or several triangles) by doing the following:
  1. Identify the relationship between 2 characters. 
  2. Choose a specific beat or part of the scene you wish to focus in on this relationship.
  3. For each character, identify at least one important fact that could affect how he or she interacts with the other character. [a relationship can be physical, personal, intellectual, professional, positive, negative, deep, shallow, etc. Consider what brings the characters together or pushes them apart...]
  4. Answer: what is the relationship between character 1 and character 2? [Usually, one character relationship is not equal]
  5. If character 1 is the first point, character 2 is the second point, who or what is the 3rd point of the triangle? [How will this character/event affect/influence the relationship?]
  • Ex. In 'Night Mother, Jessie and Thelma make up the two characters; the relationship is mother/daughter. There are several "third" points to their triangle: Loretta, Dawson, Thelma's late husband, Ricky, epilepsy and, of course, the threat of suicide.
  • Ex. In 'The Mountaintop' Camae and Martin Luther King Jr. make up the two characters; the relationship is client/maid, but it also turns out that Camae is an angel sent by God (the third point of the triangle). The prophetic assassination also looms over the tension in the scene to create a "third" character (although not one that appears on stage...)
Use the exercise in this handout to affect the scene you have been writing. Introduce and develop your "third" point of the dramatic triangle. If you need some ideas about the top 5 relationship problems (conflicts) take a look here: Russell Brand.

Period 2:

We will stop by the library to pick up your homework, Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry. Complete this play (and a play analysis sheet) for TUESDAY, Oct. 8.

When we return from the library, please work on developing your short play draft project.

HOMEWORK: Read Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry. Complete a play analysis sheet for this play. Continue to work on and write your next draft of your play. So far we have written a draft (draft 1 that was 2-3 pages;) then draft 2, (we developed each character in your play draft with a monologue and provided backstory, allowing our audience to get to know who each character is a bit;) then draft 3 (which introduces us to the idea of the dramatic triangle.)

NOTE: if your characters are still not well defined, you may use the exercises: "What the Character Believes" and "Where the Character Lives" to further develop your characters.

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