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I dig jazz and single-malt scotch.  I write plays; I direct them too. I love STAR WARS more than is healthy. I walk my dogs every day, unless it's raining or terribly cold.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Zoo Musing #1: Get that play read!

Get that play READ!
From Playwright Zoo

You've got a new play? You want to know if it works? There's only one way to discover what you've got, and that's to hear it out loud.

Call some of your actor friends, get them over to your house, and have them read your play to you.

What? No actor friends? In case you weren't paying attention when you started writing your play, these things happen in the theater. How can you not know some actors?

Well -- this does happen sometimes, but it is a situation that must be resolved. Go to some local shows, small non-profit theaters, community theaters, college theaters, to see who's doing what in your area. Next -- volunteer to help with whichever group you liked best.

This sounds like a commitment? It is. You are a playwright that has to become committed to your local theater scene. There's no way around that, so quit stalling and COMMIT ALREADY! Involve yourself. Then start collecting actors' contact info.

Not only will your commitment bring you actors, it will bring you additional knowledge about theatermaking, and this will enrich your playwriting. See the benefits of the cycle?

Now, invite some of thoe actors to your house to read your play out loud to you.

Be sure to have refreshments on hand. Also have some snacks, but I recommend staying away from salty/crunchy for a reading. Try fruit or soft candies. That way people gnoshing won't interupt the sound of your play. Also fruit is good for the vocal cords.

Now that you've heard your play it's time to rewrite. Begin by cutting the things that sounded ackward or were redundant. Then start the work of revision. Some plays need only a little tweeking, but more likely your play will need some retooling, rearranging, and new material now that you've lopped off the first half of your play (sometimes that's what happens).

Then you're ready for phase 2: The concert reading... but that will have to wait until another musing.

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