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Cohen Chapter 3- the Playwright
Transcript of Cohen Chapter 3- the Playwright
the final form of a dramatic text is in performance-
its essence is not description, but action.
The Qualities of a Fine Play
The characters are understandable
and believable as PEOPLE
The situation can be incredible
but the characters must be credible
Makes us want to know "What will happen?"
Not just in the plot but in a character's
psyche and soul
Intrigue draws us into the world of a play- credibility keeps us there
The Playwright’s Process
No set formula for playwriting-
you can start from anywhere
Theatrical effect or gimmick
Personal story or dream
Some Current American Playwrights
Rough, broken dialogue centering on issues of masculinity
Angels in America: a contemporary masterpiece: a sprawling play with thematic depth and fantastical structure
David Henry Hwang
M. Butterfly and other plays examine sexual and cultural tensions of East and West
Highly prolific oeuvre featuring vicious dialogue
Socially invested dramas examine multiple cultures and voices
In a way, the
the most important figure
in the theatrical process
The playwright generates the TEXT
that is to be performed
Yet in another way the playwright
is the most
He/she is uninvolved in the final product
CH 3- THE PLAYWRIGHT
The point of origin is also a point of DEPARTURE.
Playwright and Director:
what should their relationship be?
Speakability, Stageability and Flow
The goal is for words and actions
to have maximum impact when staged
Depth in language
A reason for every nuance
Depth of Characterization
A character's motives appear reasonable-
no one sees him/herself as the "bad guy"
Independent intention, motivation
Every character has his or her own "voice"
way of speaking
Very difficult for the actor
if this is missing
Touches on the human predicament
Relevance of the theme
to the concerns of the audience
and to current events
Condensing a story into a theatrical timeframe
all acts of affirmation
Extend our known experience
to the level of
A script is not a play
in the same way
that a drawing of a wheel
is not a wheel
Playwriting is event writing!
Whatever message a playwright is trying to get across, it has to be with
Events are shown with
Two ways the events can be ordered:
stream of consciousness
Words must be chosen
deliberately and with care
Must take into account setting and physical demands
Always saying something,
Aiding compression by
Such as discovery, victory, revelation
Developed consciously or unconsciously,
but always carefully organized
Playwriting deals with three major areas
Use remembered and imagined conversations
as jumping off points
Use powers of observation
Most playwriting is rewriting
To be a writer, read.
To be a playwright,
see and read plays
The playwright provides the SCRIPT,
but the PLAY is created without him or her (usually).
The playwright gives the script up to the director. The director must create a play.
Whose vision should be dominant?
There is no right answer.
are in the written words-
but the components of
diction, music, spectacle, and convention
must be added for a play to be complete
Playwriting is both literary and nonliterary