How you would make a Play.

How you would make a film or a TV show.

(The challenge of this essay is to describe how you would make a play. Not how you would make a film or a TV show.

For example, if you talk about scoring the final goal in a big soccer game — the stage can’t be a soccer arena where the game plays out in real time. Maybe it’s more like this:

…The scene plays out on a bare proscenium stage with 2 actors and one soccer net at the far side of the stage. The protagonist (you) is lined up against a goalie with a soccer ball between you. Both wear opposing team colors. Red for the goalie. Yellow for you. A spotlight focuses on the ball as you run towards it and … kick it across the stage and past the goalie and into the net. When that happens, sounds of fans cheering and music playing erupts as the whole theatre fills with light….

One of the mistakes that students have made in the past with this essay is describing moving from one place to another, sometimes driving to multiple places — but how would you tell that story in on a stage?

Is the car just 4 chairs facing the audience?

Do lights shift from one side of the stage, to a new piece of scenery on the other side — showing a new location?

Is there a projection that lists the new location (like a subtitle in a movie)?

PLEASE NOTE: If you imagine writing a story that looks like a movie, you’re probably not describing a play. Describe a play.

1. Choose a moment in your life that you would dramatize and describe it. WHAT HAPPENS to your main character???      (Nothing longer than 10 minutes, and it could be as short as 30 seconds. Describing a whole week or a day in your life would take much more than one scene.) Be creative, and don’t worry about playing out a whole long story. (For example, an interesting moment to stage as a scene in a play could be walking into your very first class of college.) Ask yourself if the scene involves a conversation between people or just action.

2. Is it realistic or non-realistic? (Maybe the play about your life involves magic or is a musical. Feel free to be creative — it’s your story. But if there are songs, what are that characters singing about?)

3. What type of stage would you use? (from Chapter 3) Why would you use this type of stage? (Keep it to ONE location, only, unless you can describe in detail how you could go in from one place to another while performing on a stage.)

4. Are there any special things that you’d need to figure out how to put on stage (ex. a pool, airplane, bus stop)?

5. How many characters are in it? Who are they?

6. Who would you cast to play you? Why?

7. What specific feelings, impressions, or ideas would you like your audience to leave with?


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