Why does the line in the center of the stage have to be labeled? For that matter, why is there a line at all? The set dressing on either side of the stage, the costumes and the fact that no one ever goes from one side to the other would state clearly enough that it's two separate points in time. You're not trusting the audience to "get it."
I think this is a very interesting concept for a play, and a great start...
Some of it, though, was a bit too heavy-handed for my tastes. Particularly the interaction between Fanny and John. Because their interaction revolves entirely around John's illness, their conversation becomes cliched very quickly and I don't get the sense that their relationship exists beyond the current circumstances. Does that make sense? It might be an interesting exercise to imagine what their relationship was like BEFORE John got sick, some of the things they did together on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, what exactly IS John's illness? It seems like something that happens to me all of the time in the early stages of drafting a play or a scene, and I'm sure many playwrights can relate to--we haven't worked the specifics of the relationships/characters out in our heads, so the characters themselves speak in generalities. Going by the realistic interactions that (I assume) you seem to be aiming at, the more specific you make the characters, the better. It might help to focus on one element of their conversation (like John's decision to refuse the procedure that will extend his life), and come into that conversation at a specific moment in time (right after he's told Fanny, for example, or a week after, as Fanny's last-ditch attempt to influence him, or even right before...you get the idea).
It seems to me like you have a full play's worth of ideas here, that you are trying to fit into a 10-minute form. I would suggest to either narrow your ideas or expand your form to suit the subject matter and develop the characters and situations more.
That said, you did a great job at differentiating the time periods through language. I am definitely intrigued by the subject matter and would be very interested to see how this develops. Cheers!
Thanks . . . and yes the concept was originally meant for a full play/screenplay, however, a 10min festival came up and I was like "eh what the hell" and so it is. Much of the dialogue for Keats and Severn are guided by letters and journal entries by Keats, his family members and friends and I tried to stay true as possible to history. The present day Fanny and John characters are a different matter and yes, definitely do need more development and time to do them any justice.
Ah...a man after mine own heart. The Romantics....my first play had 13 of them in it.
The language is good, the differece is achieved by their voices, and I'm sure the set. The line, however not needed, was clever. Believe it or not...although you have two scenes with men dying, I still am not sure what the stakes are. Sounds crazy...I know. If you want this to be a ten minute play, I suggest you find on thing...one arc...one objective. There is a lot of stuff here, and it is a full-length, no doubt.
As close to my heart as this subject matter is...you haven't really shared anything we couldn't find out about Keat's from a history book. So...you have the research, now tell the story...the one we don't know.
Really...excellent start in spite of all my comments.
You ravish me away by a power I cannot resist. ~Keats...in a letter to Fanny.