Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Not only do a great many people actually believe that you need no experience to become a professional actor, just about as many believe they can write play even though they haven't any idea what a play is. I keep reading questions like, "I am writing a play for my class, can you help me?" Now this is a double problem. First the teacher has no idea what a play is or he or she would not have called the assignment a play. Most often such assigments are for skits or scenes And no real teacher in his or her right mind would assign the writing of a "play" without having given their students extensive instruction in playwriting. The problem is that very few people, few actors, directors, teachers, etc. truly undersatand what a play is. They have forgotten that plays are not written,but they are 'wrought'. The person who writes a play is a playwright, not a playwrite. Plays are fashioned, created. What a playwright writes is not conversation. A playwright tells a story by fashioning a plot, a series of actions that the characters commit that conludes with a resolution to a problem that has been set forth by something the main character does early on in the story. A play is a way of telling a story through action, not through conversation. Fashioning the plot, or series of events of the story, is what the playwright has to do first. Once the story is set as action, then the playwright can translate that action into what the characters say while they are doing those actions. The dialogue of the play is litereally the action of the play expressed as the emotional responses of the characters to the situations as they occur in the story. I wish teachers and students alike knew that. It really helps actors if they know that as well.