Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Dramatic Triangle/Universal Truths/Lies; David Ives (Day 2); Play Writing Project

Period 1: please continue writing your play drafts. See the handouts and try to incorporate the following into your play:

The Dramatic Triangle & Universal Truths/Lies
  • 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.
  • Dialogue should engage the audience in 2 ways: the unique details of the "world of the play: the setting, characters, events within this world, using dialogue to move the story (plot) forward revealing more and more about the setting, characters, events, etc. AND dialogue functions as the world in which we inhabit (the audience's world, our world!) by presenting universal statements, beliefs, adages, laws, principles, etc. of both the characters and us, the audience.
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?]
  6. Sprinkle your dialogue with universal truths and lies (see handout!)
  • 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. Some universal truths might include Jessie's dialogue about the reasons why she is about to kill herself. 
  • 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...). Some universal truths include the truth of Dr. King's dialogue or the revelations he receives from the angel of God, Camae.
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 read the short plays "Universal Language", "Words, Words, Words", and "Variations in the Death of Trotsky."

If we finish before the end of class please continue to read Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry. Complete this play (and a play analysis sheet) for TUESDAY, Oct. 8 or work on your plays.

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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