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Struggle with Play Structure

January 5th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Struggling with the structure of plays. Have exhausted myself creating them without conscious awareness of the structure, that is, the historic structural questions.

Picked up Poetics and have started that. Reading a history of the theatre, as well. I have a great book on Ibsen entitled Ibsen’s Workshop, which shows his notes, scenarios, drafts of plays, all of which you can compare to the final published plays. The additions to A Doll’s House are quite telling of his process, the fleshing out of his characters from a skeletal beginning.

This is the process I used for my play The Empiric. Unfortunately, per the first sentence or two, I was ignorant of the process and was adivsed to use it by my professor, Mike Geither, who is an excellent playwright. Mike, however, uses a method of discovery and writing that is at the opposite pole from my own: I being much more plot oriented.

So, I will begin at the beginning, with Aristotle, and work through. I have read William Archer as well, an interesting book on playwrighting and drama. Just finished a 1958 article by Arthur Miller entitled, “The Shadow of the Gods,” from Harpers. I will move on to a Theory of the Modern Stage and Esslin’s Theatre of the Absurd. The most important thing, I guess, is to keep writing. Plenty of ideas…

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