Genre: Playwriting

Playwriting is not taught nearly enough. This might be in large part because we don’t find ourselves reading plays. We might go SEE the occasional play or HEAR a friend talk about their favorite line of dialogue from Book of Mormon, but reading a play’s manuscript? Not so much. Playwriting is essential reading though. Even if you’re not planning on becoming the next big playwright (See Williams, Shakespeare, Miller, Ibsen, etc.), understanding the mechanics of a play will make you a better storyteller and/or poet. Why? Well, playwriting is all about writing for that STAGE. That means you don’t get the luxury of a three page explanation of who a character is or what he is thinking. Instead, you’re forced to craft three lines of dialogue that can explain who your character is while also pushing the plot forward. You also don’t get the luxury of a complicated setting that involves description of the sun and sky. Instead, you’ll consider what props on stage will elicit the atmosphere of the characters’ interior and/or exterior lives.

This semester, we’ll be reading a full length play and some 10-minute plays:
1. Rice Boy
2. Train Stop
3. Before or After
4. The Incredible Egg
5. Objectum Sexuality
6. Occupy Hallmark
7. Broken
8. God in the Goat


Though short, these plays are packed full of action, conflict, and character development. How do they do it? Well, much of it will be discussed in class, but for now, take a look at these important craft elements of plays:

  1. Dramatic Irony
  2. Text vs. Subtext


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