Write a Play
Edited by Timbuktu, Charmed, Alma
Play is a piece of writing that is intended to be performed on stage by actors. Like stories, novel, etc. Play have characters, settings, and plots, and it uses literary devices. When you write a play you must give the cast and crew a thorough information for them to be able to perform well on play.
Find Idea for a Play
Like in stories, television series, the plot of a play is driven by problem, issues, obstacles that the main character has to overcome. Since play is about people and how they interact the easiest way to think of plot is to imagine or think of a situation in which characters experience something together but react to it differently. The different reactions of each character are the one that will create the conflict of the drama. For example, a conflict could be triggered by an incident on a bus ride to field trip: one didn't come back and everyone has to look for the student who is missing, some students may have a different reaction to this situation and can form the conflict of the play. Your job as a playwright is to find a way how to solve this conflict.
Sample Situations that can create conflict on a play
- Senior Prom and someone unknown won the crown as a prom queen.
- Three women friends are going out on a date together but one female friend's date did not arrive.
- Two friend's playing cards and one is watching.
The same play can be very different each time it is being performed especially if it would be a different actor who will perform. Actors bring many ideas on how they will perform the character in a play; they discussed it with the director on how they will portray the character.
It is up to the playwright how to invent the characters and the dialogue. It is up to the playwright to create interesting characters with different personalities and the actors can bring them to life.
It is very helpful to use or create a contrast chart to compare the characters.
Like for example:
- Mariane: vocal, enthusiastic, does not hide her regards. Shallow and likes to act on the spur of the moment.
- Elinor: Quiet prefers to keep her feelings to herself. Thoughtful, Always thinks first before saying something and or rushing into things.
The setting of the play is when and where the action occurs. In addition the setting is the one that contributes to the overall mood of the play.
When you develop a setting for a play, you have to remember that whatever you describe in the play, someone has to build the set that you are describing. Therefore, you must provide a thorough description so that the set designer can build it. For example, the kitchen is more specific than a house; you have to provide an exact description, like a big kitchen with all the equipment, or just a simple kitchen. So whatever it is you have in your mind you must supply this to the set designer. Also keep in mind that a simple set is of course easy to build, and simple set can also make the audience pay attention more to the characters than looking at the surroundings of the set.
This is a major component of a play. The audience finds out about the characters depending on what they say and how they say it. Dialogues should be interesting, enlightening and believable.
Believable but boring
Brandon: What do you want to eat?
John: I don't know, what do you want to eat?
Brandon: I don't know….. Whatever.
Believable and Interesting
Brandon: What do you want to eat?
John: I don't know my last meal was pasta.
Brandon: Yeah, me too, what a coincidence, maybe we were thinking the same thing at the time.
This tells the cast on how to deliver the lines and what they need to do while they are onstage. This also informs the crew about the effects, like for example the sound of wind or a thunder that they need to produce.
As a playwright you have to consider and remember all the important action that occurs during the performance, you have to include the stage directions, like for example when a character enters and leaves the stage, how they will speak, their voice, intonation, their gesture, where they will stand all the details.
In fiction or novels the stage direction is supplied by the narrator, but in play, the playwright supplies them usually it is inside the brackets.
- In Fiction: Charles gave me a sharp look and then angrily told me to leave him alone.
- In Play: Charles: [pausing and looking very sharp at Jane] Leave me alone!
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.