View single post by Awfly Wee Eli
 Posted: Tue Apr 10th, 2012 04:22 pm
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Awfly Wee Eli

 

Joined: Thu Jan 12th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 32
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Mana: 
The audience's experience should be nearly identical.

I...absolutely disagree with this. Huh. Some plays demand spectacle; others beg for intimacy. Some plays that were brilliant in a 75-seat black box theater would die hideous deaths on Broadway, and vice versa. That's not something the playwrights did wrong; it's just what the plays needed to be. Or, as my programmer friends say, "It's not a bug; it's a feature."

And if you write a play where the audience's experience will be identical regardless of where and by whom it's produced, what's the point of anyone producing it more than once? The plays I go to over and over, I do because I can't wait to see how this director and group of actors will interpret what's on the page--and that will be--and, I feel, should be--quite different depending on the company.

the dialogue of the play should ideally come to life in a vacuum. I may be stretching the concept a bit, but that is what I've come to learn. It's all in the dialogue, and the action in the dialogue.

I've heard this argument before, and I'm not sure I agree with it, either. Actors aren't just voices; they're bodies, and I believe that playwrights would do well to let them use those bodies as much as possible. If all of the action is in the dialogue, why aren't you writing a radio play?

Think of the second act of Noises Off! Without stage directions, the dialogue would be utterly incomprehensible. That's an extreme example, of course, a few well-placed stage directions open vast realms of subtextual possibility which allows much to be said by remaining unsaid.