You Are a Special Person
Trying to be a professional playwright is extraordinary; succeeding is extra-ordinarily difficult. It is, most often, not a choice but a compulsion, not an indulgence but a need to reach out, to share. It takes a unique combination of aloneness and skillfully cooperative production-team membership, of skills and sensibilities which must be filtered through those of other theatre colleagues. It must be communication singularly immediate in its emotional clarity and impact. The Playwrights Forum was formed on the presumption that we playwrights – would-be and realized – are special, and deserve special respect and attention.
A Learning Environment
Individual playwrights have different talents, sensibilities and backgrounds, so each learns in different ways. Within the context of its basic methodology, The Playwrights Forum aims to establish an environment of various approaches to that learning, different opportunities which might prove helpful in that playwright’s development.
A Common Terminology
Our aim in script discussions is to express with clarity, to focus on elements of story and plotting within the world the playwright has determined, to analyze with precision. That is, to open the door into the “room” of the playwright’s play. That can be done only with a set of terms understood by everyone: the “Basic Story Elements”.
“Plays are not written, they are re-written” is a myth. Once you’ve written your dialogue, 80% of any help we might have given is eliminated. The major choices, about story and character, have been made and a commitment made. The earlier a play is brought to the table, the more help can be effectively applied. With this sort of pre-dialogue work our aim is: get it right the first time.
Structure – a play’s story and the way of placing it onstage – is the key element in determining effective character and dialogue. Characters are known not by what they say, but rather, by what they do. Dialogue is most effective as a reflection of intent, in communicating dramatic movement. Primary attention to structure, therefore, insures a proper perspective on developing a play’s other elements.