Playwriting

Playwriting Workshop: Feedbacks and Doubts

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Our first workshop in which we gave feedback to each other and Professor Musgrave told us what he thouht about our scenes was very interesting. Creative Writing classes won’t be the same without reading each other’s stuff. This is even more fun because sometimes Professor Musgrave makes us act and stage what we write. Staging and reading our pieces aloud makes our workshops even more useful because we get a clearer idea of what we wrote and how our pieces could work if acted.

I loved one of my classmate’s piece in which two school girls seem to be doing something naughty but talk about school-related stuff (tests, books). They give hints that they’re going to do something bad, but they apparently are not. This is a good dramatic technique that makes the reader/spectator interested in what’s going to happen (they’re going to smoke weed).

About my piece, which is the one inspired from an object (you can find it in “My Playwriting Attempts” section), Professor Musgrave told me that the characters do stuff to each other in every line, which I guess was a compliment. My classmates told me that I needed a more detailed description at the beginning, also because the girl is reading a book while walking and bringing two shopping bags, which actually is a bit too much. I also had many compliments, which is good. They told me that it is interesting how their relationship seems blurred at the beginning and you wonder all the way through what have happened before. Also, Professor Musgrave told me that there is a lot or reaching out and loving among all that trying to hurt each other. That was my intention, and I appreciated his comment. He also told me not to use the words “on stage” when describing the scene. He told me that a lot can be left as designers will decide.

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While discussing our work, Professor Musgrave told us that drama is made of many tiny bits that need to make the story flow naturally. So if action seems to be repeated all over, then drama could begin to sag a little. Writing a good scene does not mean writing a fascinating conversation. People can’t just explain things to each other, they must do things to each other. This brought us to think about all the questions that we must ask to ourselves when we introduce a character in our scenes. Every character should be functional to the dynamics of the piece, and the dynamics make the story. Professor Musgrave asked some questions to all of us. I am going to note down mine:

  • What does Harry want to?
  • What does Jen want to?
  • Why do they do what they do?

I tried to answer: Jen is the first who talks, so apparently she wants to talk to him – but why? Is she just being polite or she really wants to start a conversation? And what about Harry? He seems to avoid some subjects, but he wants to keep talking to her. He grabs her arm to prevent her from going away. Why does he do that? I really need to sort these things out when I write, because, as Professor said, when I have a clearer idea of the dynamics of the story, then I can tell what’s really happening. Professor, for example, suggested that my story was the story of a woman running away from the truth. But this was more like an impression or a suggestion, which I think is the truth but I could clearify a bit.

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