Why Write a Play?
While authors and poets may be pleased to see their name in print, there is nothing quite like the thrill of listening to a live audience
cheering and clapping in response to a playwright's carefully crafted words.
For centuries, theatergoers have been enthralled by the magic of the theatre. Perhaps because a live audience creates a special sense of
intimacy and immediacy, not just with the cast onstage, but with the whole crew.
For the writer, there is a wonderful sense of achievement and power – that power being the ability to unleash the emotions of the audience and
create a unique experience.
It's also the reward for a long, hard road well traveled. Writing a play is not an easy task, but the rewards are so worth it! Writers who
choose this field need plenty of patience and persistence.
First, the author must write, rewrite, then rewrite again, to the point where frustration almost, but not quite, overwhelms the desire to
bring your play to life. Once the play is crafted, so begins the rounds of pitching it to producers and theaters in the hope someone else will
share the dream.
Getting someone to accept your play today can be particularly challenging as many theaters rely on workshops and readings to gauge the
potential success of a play before committing to a full production.
The good news for writers is that shorter plays are now very popular, In particular, 10 minute plays with a beginning, middle and end are in
demand. These are usually no more than 10 pages long and involve only one scene.
Similarly, playwright's one act plays are a great outlet for playwrights. While there is no real time limit on these, the general consensus is
that a one act play is one that isn't regarded as long enough to occupy a full night out.
Playwrights typically aim for a 30 minute production, which is a good length for high school productions in particular. A small play like this
is also a challenge any serious writer will relish.
It challenges the writer to focus the play on one issue, tell the story completely, and seek a reaction from the audience – all within a short
period of time.
Similarly, a person writing for musicals faces the challenge of producing a script that runs for anything up to 3 hours, although the most
acceptable time is about half that. The musical writer faces the added challenge of having their story told to music, thus leaving the delivery
of their words open to much interpretation.
The true gift of the playwright is being able to put words into another person's mouth and watching as the actor interprets your work and
brings it to life. Other medium may tell a story, but only the theater can produce the spontaneity of live theatre and challenge the emotions of
every person in that theater.