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 Posted: Sun Jul 24th, 2011 05:29 am
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JustGoWithIt
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Mana: 
Francisco F. wrote:
Speaking of themes do you work w/any particular themes in your work even if its not intentional? I think depending on our individual lives and circumstances we may write about certain aspecs of them more so because they're important to us and what we know.

My most recent play was intended to only have one potent theme, but ended up having maybe five.

Think that speaks for itself.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 13th, 2011 09:39 pm
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Francisco F.
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Mana: 
Speaking of themes do you work w/any particular themes in your work even if its not intentional? I think depending on our individual lives and circumstances we may write about certain aspecs of them more so because they're important to us and what we know.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 13th, 2011 08:55 pm
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Louisep at Playwrights Muse
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"Jerusalem" is a great play that doesn't state its theme except on one or maybe two places. I saw it on Broadway and I loved it.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 12th, 2011 05:15 pm
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Len511
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I prefer to know beforehand what the theme and proposition are, and if I find them intriguing, that's when I want to watch and see how they get resolved in the plot by the various characters. In other words, if I don't know what the play is about (proposition), I don't have an incentive to go see it unless a)it is starring a favorite actor or author b)I have free tickets and nothing better to do.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 12th, 2011 06:02 am
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Francisco F.
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This is a good question and one I was wondering myself. I like themes to be ambiguous in what I watch. I hate when I watch something whether a movie, play, or TV show and the message is too obvious or preachy. Now, every playwright comes from a different place, but I'd just follow Paddy's advice and write whay you want to write, worry about the rest later.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 12th, 2010 07:40 pm
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timmy
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Barbara:

poet Robert Frost is famous for that exact behavior.  After a poetry reading, if anyone commented about knowing what a particular poem was about, he would always agree and compliment the person.  He learned this technique after getting frustrated w/American audiences and moving to England early in his career.  Upon returning, a more mature writer, he flourished.

Pretty good advice for a playwright, I would say...

timmy

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 Posted: Fri Nov 12th, 2010 02:08 pm
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Paddy
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Just Go With It. Really.

If I've learned one thing about playwriting, you cannot predict anything. Just write the story you need to tell, is what I think.

As for explaining too much....I'm not going to talk much about this, because for myself, I believe a theatre audience is a smart audience and I love ambiguity, I love when it's not packaged at the end, I love in the first five minutes of the play, not having a clue what's going on...but that might just be me.

Paddy

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 Posted: Fri Nov 12th, 2010 08:09 am
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bkahn
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Once, long ago, I was filling out a grant application and came upon a question something like, "Describe the theme or themes of your plays." I was at a loss, because I always thought I wrote plays, not themes. I asked a colleague who was familiar with most of my plays, and she immediately responded with what she believed from her experience was the major theme that ran through all my plays. It was a fine theme, so I decided to keep it and finished writing the grant application. (I got the grant and several more in later years from the same foundation).

There was a wonderful playwright named Ted Harris who directed me in several of his and other's plays. Once, I heard an audience member say to him after a performance that he picked up on the play's being based on a particular recent event in the news. Well, we had rehearsed for 3 weeks and the event happened the week before the play opened. Ted's reply puzzled me. "Yes, it's based on that." When I questioned him, he said that when anyone tells you what your play is about, always agree. The person will be so pleased at their insight, and you'll have a fan for life. If you correct them, they'll be embarrassed and probably not see any more of your work. However...if someone asks you what your play is about, feel free to tell them. I have followed Ted's advice in the years since. He was a terrific writer/director who died much too young. I miss him, his plays and his great advice.

My advice, should you want to accept it, is not to worry or wonder about the theme of your play. Focus on the characters, situations and conflict.

Hope this helps.

 

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 Posted: Fri Nov 12th, 2010 02:30 am
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JustGoWithIt
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How far do/should you go as far as explicitly stating what they are and making sure the audience really gets them? Reason being that I'm already about halfway through my first full-length and I think I may have stated my themes so explicitly that it may almost turn the audience off.

The reason I did it is that...well, the feeling I have is people don't come to plays to analyze them like an English professor, they come to them to just see the play and take it in. Most plays (and literary works in general) that I've read are like geodes. There's a beautiful crystal under the surface, but unless you take the biggest, most heavy-duty sledgehammer of analysis you've got and take a whack, you're not going to get to see it. And you can't do that just by looking at it.

I wanted the play I'm writing to just be a crystal, something the audience could understand easily, but now I don't know if it's going to shine too brightly. So some feedback would be much appreciated.

Last edited on Fri Nov 12th, 2010 02:36 am by JustGoWithIt

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