Drama is life with the dull bits left out: Things I wish I’d known when starting out (3)

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Theatre is artifice. It is not ‘just like real life’ – even in the most precise productions using realism and naturalism it is artificial, crafted, completely manufactured. It requires thought and structure and dramatic theory put into practice.  Some years ago I got a group of young writers who were resisting this basic tenet to record and then transcribe one of their evenings when they felt their dialogue was most sparkling and rapier-swift, when they felt their concerns were most engaging and communicable to an appreciative audience, who would be eager to hear more. We began then to read this transcript in a class, until they pleaded to stop. They had learnt the hard way what Alfred Hitchcock espoused: Drama is life with the dull bits left out.

Editing and cutting is essential. Finding what to keep is the question…

Try to understand and identify the difference between what is dramatic material and what is anecdote.

Fluency and ease in writing comes from practice, not chance.

If you are serious about playwriting, reading scripts is as essential as seeing live work.

‘Writing is play in the same way that playing the piano is ‘play’, or putting on a theatrical ‘play’ is play. Just because something’s fun doesn’t mean it isn’t serious.’ Margaret Atwood.

One response to “Drama is life with the dull bits left out: Things I wish I’d known when starting out (3)

  1. Some truly nice stuff on this site, I like it.

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