Playwriting: A Practical Guide for Students of All Ages

By Noël Greig | Go to book overview

6

Location

If you are an individual writer or a collaborative/devising group writing for a conventional theatre-performance, you will be thinking about the location(s) that the story takes place in. There are many opinions about how much information and detail the writer needs to supply for the director, designer, lighting designer and sound-artist in order to realise the physical embodiment of the story. My own taste is to be minimal, and to allow as much scope to the other artists as possible. However I would suggest that, as you write, you do need to be as specific in your mind regarding the location(s) as you are with the characters. My own way of dealing with this is to 'think film', knowing that - in the end, and wonderfully so - the unique power of live performance can suggest a burning skyscraper through a burning matchstick.

Here are some of the ways that certain playwrights have given guidance to the production teams that will realise their work.

A section of the park on SORIN'S estate. A broad avenue leads away from the audience into the depths of the park towards the lake. The avenue is closed off by a stage which has been hurriedly run up for some home entertainment, so that the lake is completely invisible. Right and left of the stage is a shrubbery. A few chairs and a garden table.

The sun has just set. On the improvised stage, behind the lowered curtain, are YAKOV and other WORKMEN; coughing and banging can be heard. MASHA and MEDVEDENKO enter left, on their way back from a walk.

(The Seagull, by Anton Chekhov)

-119-

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Playwriting: A Practical Guide for Students of All Ages
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Noël Greig iii
  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • 1 - Getting Going and Warming Up 1
  • 2 - Theme 43
  • 3 - Issue 47
  • 4 - Building a Character 60
  • 5 - Finding the Story 86
  • 6 - Location 119
  • 7 - The Individual Voice 131
  • 8 - Second Draft 157
  • 9 - Performance Projects 193
  • Appendix A: 198
  • Appendix B: 200
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