Playwriting

The Final Project: How to Define Ideas

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What does writing plays mean? What is the process of writing plays? I am thinking about it now because the deadline of our project is quite close and we need to start figuring out what we are going to do. Professor Musgrave’s exercises were very helpful and I focused on many different techniques and inspirations. Having different experiences and meeting people is of course a great part of writing. Jumping into the world, going out without necessarily knowing where we are going, walking, talking to people, observing physical objects. But it seems easy if I put it this way. It’s not.

Writing plays also means that you need to consider a stage. You don’t just have a blank page in front of you – you have to put people in a space. So the first thing to think about is what you can see on stage. In Ophelias Zimmer, there was a bed, some flowers, a strangely shaped drawer, a recorder, the cloak hanger. Every object in the play had a meaning or a role.

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And then, apart from the objects on scene, there is dialogue, of course, and also actions. I was very impressed by Professor Musgrave’s definition of theatre: theatre is made of characters doing something to each other. You can do it through dialogue, but of course there are also actions. In Ophelias Zimmer, Hamlet comes on stage and grabs Ophelia, he makes her dance and sings in her face. That’s a powerful scene and no dialogue is implied.

After Ophelias Zimmer, we had to read the play Jerusalem by Jez Buttersworth. It was completely different from the first – in fact, Professor Musgrave told us that German theatre traditionally focuses more on action and movement rather than dialogue, while exactly the opposite happens for British theatre. Dialogue was essential in Jez Buttersworth’s play. The setting of Jerusalem really struck me because it was completely different from Ophelias Zimmer, which was set in a room: in fact, Jerusalem is set in a wood. There is a hut, trees, and apparently the set is very messy but of course studied in detail. It tells a lot about the main character.

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The idea I had for my project is a play about women… with no women on stage. It will be a story of a father and a son and their relationship to a mother who’s not going to be a “physical” character on scene. The story will hopefully be about women role in our society – it sounds ambitious, but I have a very simple play in mind. I don’t know if what I’m writing makes any sense, but I’ll try to write something decent.

Meanwhile, I need to think about so many other things. What’s going to be on stage? Who are the characters? How is it possible to write about a character who’s not on stage? It will be interesting. My mind is always full of questions that I need to answer to. I hope I will be able to do it. 🙂

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