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The Playwrights Forum > The Art & Craft of Writing > Work-in-Progress > Is this opening for a ten minute play sound

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Is this opening for a ten minute play sound  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Jan 17th, 2012 04:33 am
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Michael Morris
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Mana: 
I'm currently opening a ten minute play with these instructions for the director.


PAMELA, age 16
Billy, her boyfriend, age 16

(Optionally, in the background, CATHERINE, her mother, age 38 and BRIAN, Billy's father, age 40. These two have no lines, but Billy and Pam spot them about midway through the play. It may be fun to stage things such that the actions the two kids are observing them doing are visible to the audience as well.)

Scene: A high school dance.


I've never seen anything like that instruction - so is it fine or way too quirky? (coincidentally, the latter two characters are chaperoning at the dance).

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 Posted: Tue Jan 17th, 2012 04:35 am
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Paddy
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Mana: 
I think that to be clear, you could say they were chaperoning at the dance, but are not seen until midway through the play. I think giving directors a lot of freedom makes for a better play. Trust.

Paddy

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 Posted: Tue Jan 17th, 2012 04:41 am
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Michael Morris
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Mana: 
You picked up on it, but yeah - that's exactly why they are there. This should be devilishly fun - the two kids are falling out of love, and their parents are falling in love, dooming them to become step siblings.

Explicitly stating that would help.

And I really do like keeping my nose to the dialog and leaving the actors and directors alone to chart their course. Even when I strongly feel characters are hugging or the like I don't say it unless it's absolutely plot critical, or the dialog references the physical action directly. My longest stage direction in the current play is this one...

"She has noticed the painting. She knows this painting. This moment is very long but exactly what physically happens here is left to you. Whether Pam finishes the word 'wonderful' is also left to you. PAM breaks the silence"

Last edited on Tue Jan 17th, 2012 04:41 am by Michael Morris

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