View single post by Doug B
 Posted: Tue May 15th, 2012 03:38 pm
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Doug B

Joined: Thu May 20th, 2010
Location: Eastsound, Washington USA
Posts: 94
A few thoughts from a guy who stopped writing plays for several years after getting several bad critiques on a play:

Not having read the critique all I can offer are some generalizations. The first is a quote from Marsha Norman that addresses the thematic direction:

“I’m convinced that there are absolutely unbreakable rules in the theatre, and that it doesn’t matter how good you are, you can’t break them . . . You must state the issue at the beginning of the play. The audience must know what is at stake; they must know when they will be able to go home: “This is a story about a little boy who lost his marbles.” They must know, when the little boy either gets his marbles back or finds something better than his marbles, or kills himself because he can’t live without his marbles, that the play will end and they can applaud and go home. He can’t NOT care about the marbles. He has to want them with such a passion that you are interested, that you connect to that passion. The theatre is all about wanting things that you can or can’t have or you do or do not get. Now the boy himself has to be likeable. It has to matter to you whether he gets his marbles or not.”

As to tightening scenes: I continue to be amazed at how tightly written good plays are. In a great play, there is not a single sentence that can be cut because it affects the play somewhere else. Even the initial exposition must refer to something later in the play.

I suggest you go through the play one sentence at a time. Why is that sentence there? Why do we need to know what it says???

There must be a place later in the play where that knowledge will will affect the outcome of the play. For example, you might tell the audience that the character is very tired. If that knowledge does not directly affect another point in the play, cut it.

Hope this helps


Last edited on Tue May 15th, 2012 03:42 pm by Doug B