Playwrighting 101

I am a playwright.  Somehow that sentence feels comfortable.  I have been writing plays for over thirty years now.  I have even taught Playwrighting — mostly to college students who really wanted to make it as screenwriters.  When Shakespeare says “The play’s the thing!” I know how his heart must have raced.  Mine does whenever I go to the theatre and the lights dim.

What should a play be?  Hard to define.  Talky? Action driven?  Meditative?  A circus with a narrative?  We know what it should not be — something that puts us to sleep.  It should not leave us satisfied, but the wheels of thought should turn hours or days after we have left the theatre. 

I suppose of that premise PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was a better play than I thought — I hated it so thoroughly it kept me ranting for months about how mediocrity is rewarded in this society. 

I always told my students (and usually remind myself) to write the play in your head, not what others tell you to write.  At talk backs after plays everyone is quick to inform the playwright of a better play that they could write, rather than addressing what the playwright wishes to convey.  It may not be a play your mother could love — but it should be a play YOU can love.  That was Playwrighting 101.  To make it in the world it must embrace more people than it agitates.  But let it agitate some of them!  Politeness is not known for changing the world.



About christineemmert

Words have been part of my life. First the spoken word in my time as an actress and increasingly the written word in my shift to writer. I write across the genres, but mostly as a playwright and poet. My interest as my life extends is in the realm of tethering myth to the mundane reality where I live. In this vein I have expanded into stories and novels. Presently I look at how myths taken from past cultures can affect us today. Hence my novella of Lilith which is out on Kindle . I live in the Eastern Woodlands where I try to incorporate nature into my many writing projects. We are so in danger of losing that link to our very planet!
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