Monday, April 07, 2008


I'm working on a play. My first. I took playwriting in college and remember doing pretty well. It was so much fun to cast my scenes and watch/listen to classmates perform my "work". I can see why actors and playwrights get hooked on live theater -- that rush of being in front of an audience, experiencing emotions together, breathing the same air as actors. And the best thing -- in theater unlike MOVIES -- the writer is respected and his work sacred.

I've been meaning to write this story before, but was thinking of it in screenwriting form. I realized its rawness would be better suited for the stage. Also I'm seeing a lot of plays on Broadway lately and they sparked something. I just saw "The Homecoming" starring Ian McShane from "Deadwood" fame. Superb. "Spring Awakening" which has a powerful book as well as great music.

How is playwriting different than screenwriting? I love that you can concentrate on the structure and plot, but you can also let scenes breathe and write longer dialogue -- it's not so constraining, like screenplay formats and page counts. You can tell your story and not just show. It's verbal not only visual. It's a nice change of pace. Some of the best gossip or stories that people share with you in real life is SPOKEN not just ACTED out. People like to tell you details. I miss that sometimes in screenwriting. No time for the details. Just cut to the chase.

So I suggest we all read a good play. Try DOUBT written by John Patrick Shanley ("Moonstruck"). It won the TONY for a reason. And tell me if you think the priest was guilty or not at the end of it.

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