Playwriting

In the last year or so I have written or co-written several short scripts. Two of them, one that I wrote by myself and one that I helped write, were produced by a teen theater group I am involved in. The one I wrote by myself was about a news reporter who mysteriously went missing, and a loony detective who was hired to find her; the play ended unresolved, with nearly everyone in the play other than the detective mysteriously disappearing by the end. The other play, which I co-wrote, was about a burglar who accidentally stumbled into some play auditions, is duped into trying out, is cast, and then goes on to be a famous actor. Another I helped write was a re-telling of the nursery tale The Three Billy Goats Gruff. In our version the troll is really just lonely, not wanting to eat the goats at all, but merely wants to have a tea party with them.

All of these plays are obviously just silly little stories with hardly any real substance or important idea behind them. I believe that to be really good a play has to have meaning behind it, and that is what will make it great; none of the short plays I have written have been like that, but I do think it is possible to write a short play which has deep meaning behind it. I would like to try to write a short play which has deep meaning, despite its length.

Script writing is a unique process, different from writing a book or anything else for that matter. When an author writes a novel, he has to take his thoughts and ideas and make the reader see what they see through the language he uses. But when a dramaturge writes a play, he has to put his thoughts and ideas onto paper in a way that can be translated into a stage production, where people can actually see produced what the author had in his mind. In a sense, it’s almost like there is an extra step in the process of getting it from the author to the recipient. In some ways this makes scriptwriting easier; eloquent, descriptive wording and clever wordplay are not near as ancillary in a script as in a novel . But in another way scriptwriting can be more difficult; there is a very huge possibility that a playwright’s vision for his play can easily be lost in translation from script to stage. I think that playwriting and novel writing take different skill sets, perhaps even different mindsets. It’s like the difference between describing something to someone and explaining to someone how to describe something to someone else. By no means have I mastered the art of playwriting; I’ve not even scratched the surface, but it is something I find intriguing and want to pursue. Hopefully some time soon I will be able to write a script which is more than a fun, silly story, and post it.

 

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