Playwriting Workshop Day 2

1. Read homework monologues out loud.
Give us the when and where of your scene and then just read it.
We’ll try to make helpful suggestions.

2. Writing Exercise #2 One-Act Play

Write a one-act play. In fifteen minutes of stage time, show character, setting, a situation, a struggle, and the climax of an action. Perhaps this climax will be a turning point in your character’s life.

Once you have chosen a character and decided upon the conflict your character must face, then you need to use the tools of playwriting to focus the action. You only have about fifteen minutes of stage time to present a complete action. Use the setting of your scene and an igniting action to focus the conflict of your play.

In a play we write about the day when something important happens. Plays take place on the day a gathering storm finally breaks! Plays occur on days unlike any other day. They occur on crisis days. People are in trouble. Desires are starting to boil. Something has happened which has turned up the heat! Start your play near the climax. What is the igniting action of your play?

Conflict is the lens which reveals the true nature of character: how the individual responds to the challenge of change.

Think about what you can make happen that will best bring out the conflict in the action. What is your igniting action?

1) Describe the setting of your play.
  • Be specific. Do a thorough description of the setting. You can convey the mood of your character’s state of mind in your description of the landscape in which he or she exists. Detail will bring your scene to life.

2) Igniting Action

What makes this day different from any other?
  • The Boat carrying Prospero's enemies arrives on his island.
  • A Gentleman Caller comes to Laura's home.
  • Biff Loman comes home to help his family cope with his father's illness.

3) Write Stage Directions in Parentheses

  • Explain the important physical movements that the characters take on stage.

4) Include a monologue in your play if you wish.

  • Monologues come from a character’s deeply felt need to say something, to reveal something about themselves. Characters at a turning point need to tell people what brought them there.
  • The character may be explaining himself, confessing, deceiving, winning someone over, figuring out something, building up courage, or coming up with a plan. What does your character really need to tell? Your monologue can take the form of a memory, a dream, a confession, a revelation, a plan, a philosophy or a story.
  • Think about what you learned about your character that you hadn’t known before you wrote your monologue. Think about how this new knowledge may teach you to sharpen the action.

5) Get inside your main character. Know your character’s agenda at all times. Think about your character’s agenda at all times. In a play the people have clear desires and wants. They are in active pursuit of their objectives. They carry their desires like spears into the circle of action.