Search This Blog

Monday, August 6, 2012

Play #6 - Beginning. Middle. End.

I'm terrible with titles. I've written plays with such terrible titles as "Vice Play" (because it was a play about vice!) or "Drama" (because it was a meta-play about drama). And the title is always the LAST thing I come up with, long after I've completed a first draft. 

I think part of it is that I've just always been bad with the "names" of things. I rarely think about what I name my characters, I've gone for years knowing people without knowing their names, and I never pay attention to the names of streets, which makes me a terrible person to ask for directions anywhere. To me, the names of things always seems arbitrary and irrelevant when it comes to discerning the core of what something is, whether that's a person or a place or a play. Of course, with a creative work it is a bit different. The Sound and the Fury would still be a great work without that title, but the illusion that title points to helps to clarify the point of view of the book. 

I bring all this up because this is a play where I came up with the title first and let the play form from there. It's also ironic, because while the title inspired the distinct structure of this play, the play is actually probably the least structured of all the plays I've written this month. (granted it's early.) It's really just three snapshots of a relationship. But I like them. More character study than anything else. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Play #5 - Voluntary Conditions

I'm going to present this one without much comment. I'm not sure what I think of it and would appreciate any feedback people out there have.  So instead, here's a video showing exactly how I cook and eat ramen noodles.

The play is after the jump!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Play #4 - The Nanny

One of the reasons I like this exercise so much is that it provides endless variety. After the heavy subject matter of the last two scripts, I decided to go the opposite direction for this one by making not only a comedy, but making a scene almost aggressively absurd.

More of a "skit" than any kind of formal play (though that never stopped David Ives or Christopher Durang), this is also my first (though I suspect far from my last) Big Idea play. Not that it trades in philosophical grandstanding, but it's a play that can be easily summed up in a single sentence. Unlike the first two plays, I didn't start with an initial image or situation and see where it goes from there. The premise of this skit almost describes the thing from beginning, middle, to end. 

Not that the premise is necessarily good. Though I do think there are a few exchanges here that made me laugh and laugh as I wrote them. This is sort of Gary Larson kind of play. A Far Side cartoon come to life. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Play #3 - O Reason, Reason

The title of this play is taken from a quote from the preface to Modern Mythology by Louis Aragon: "O reason, reason, abstract phantom of the waking state, I had already expelled you from my dreams, now I have reached a point where those dreams are about to become fused with apparent realities: now there is only room here for myself."

As you might have noticed with the other plays, I tend not to be a very poetic writer. I like to think of my "style" as the lovechild between Strindberg and Noel Coward. I love to write riling melodramatic scripts with people being emotionally savage to each other, but I also like to have them talk in pithy clever quips that's never quite appropriate for the situation. We all have crosses.

This script was a deliberate attempt to try to get out of my comfort zone. It is also in the form of a long monologue. You might ask, what's the difference between this and writing a first person short story? And to that I'd say first and foremost: Shut up you smart aleck stinky head. And then I'd also add, that I think when it comes to work like these, the main difference is intention. This is a script that is meant to be performed. I keep it vague as it how it should be performed because I think that should be determined by the actor and director. But I definitely think of this as a performance piece. Hope you enjoy.

Play #2 - Welcome Home

Much like the first play, this one began with an initial picture of how the scene began, and then I just let the characters take it for here. The difference is that very premise demands immediate conflict and also insists on a resolution of some finality, as compared to "Men", which just sort of... ended.

Not that the play is perfect. It's way over the top melodrama, with extreme situations and gun play. (you can tell I wrote it immediately after writing the first) But I think it's a bit gripping and I sort of love how these characters communicate together. Definitely a Greek ending though. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Play #1 - Men

When I first say down to write the first play of this competition, I was really worried that with the short amount of time I'd have to write each of these scripts I wouldn't be able to wrap them up very well. So I came up with an idea of ending each and every script with the stage direction [ Character X Exits, Pursued by a Bear], the insane stage direction made famous by Shakespeare in his play The Winters Tale.

Now, having written several plays for the competition, I see that this was a stupid idea. Part of the point of this exercise is to try and get us to develop a complete through line, and I know for the other plays I've written so far, that type of absurd jokey ending would negate the atmosphere and story of what came before it.

But regardless, I wrote this play with that ending in mind. Two hunters in the middle of the woods. One of whom was a playwright talking about how he couldn't end his play, and the other an experienced bear hunter. That was the general idea. Instead, the characters took over and wound up spending the entire play arguing over where to camp for the night. It's slight but a bit funny. Hope you enjoy.

Just a quick note...

Wow. So... it's been officially a year since I've posted anything to this blog. And... I don't think I'm going to pretend anymore that I'm going to keep it up, etc. Things this past year have been in major flux for me. I moved from Cheyenne, Wyoming all the way to the (for me) big(ish) city of Boston. New friends, new life, etc. I would LOVE to get back to reviewing IF and I, if I'm not too busy this fall, I'll attempt to review the competition this October.

In the meantime, I'm engaged this NaNoWriMo knock off for playwrights. It's called 31 Plays in 31 Days, and the general idea is that you write a play a day. The rule: They have to be longer than a page. So I'm going to be posting those plays here to this website. Please feel free to leave comments about them, as the reason I'll be posting them online is to potentially get feedback from people so that after this whole affair, I'll know which scripts have potential to be polished or expanded.

Anyway, if you're coming back or are new welcome. I'll try not to post stupid videos and links. Because that's what Facebook is for. Thanks.