Saturday, May 24, 2008

Don't Think Twice the title of the new ten-minute play, birthed last night and mostly complete at 3 am.

And no, it's not about Bob Dylan...

It's about two sisters, one of them from LA who has come to her older sister's front yard in the Puget Sound area, to tell her that their dad is dead and give her his old pocket watch. They haven't spoken to each other in ten years after a falling out so there's some reconciliation there.

But this play was actually the second play written of the evening.

The first one had roughly the same characters (though they weren't sisters) and was trying to really deal with the stupid prompt more head on. The stupid prompt, remind you is "History's b*tch--the problem with being so d*mn modern". Yeah, I struggled with that and honestly, still have no idea what that even means.

Anyone? Tell me, I'd like to know...

So the play I handed in really doesn't relate too much to that stupid prompt at all. Somewhere in the evening I thought, it's more important to me to have a good play for two actors to perform than worry about sticking to any "theme".

Why did I completely toss out a whole other play (which was actually a different story?)

One word.


There wasn't any in that first play.

I mean, there was some good dialogue and it was about this modern woman with her modern technology and she was out camping with this other woman who believes in the simple life. And the characters were developed. It flowed well. And there were some funny lines. At least, I thought they were funny. It was good.

But still, it had no conflict. Okay, it might have had the hint of some conflict, but not enough for an actual play.

And while I certainly could have taken that play and rewritten and fully developed it more, the actual story I had was pretty weak. So I chunked the whole idea, kept the characters and the location, sort of, and made them sisters. But I focused intently on what their objectives were and what the conflict was.

And suddenly I had something more resembling dramatic action. You know, like in a play.

Some writers think that you can get away without conflict, especially in a ten minute play. I would debate that because I think most great plays have some form of conflict. Even the ones playing with language and style and structure. Audiences don't go see plays just to watch characters talk pretty language or move around on stage. They want to see characters pursuing a goal and have obstacles and conflict. Actors want to play their objectives and not giving them some inherent in the writing just makes them work harder. So why not make it easy on the actors and audience?

So now I've handed off the play to the director and actors and will see what happens tonight. Either it works or it doesn't. The audience is the true test of any play.

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