While scouring Google+ for interesting stories, I came across Leanne Dyck, a fellow Canadian, who had just completed writing her first play. She sounded so enthusiastic about it that I had to invite her to share how about this exciting achievement came about, in the hopes of making the process feel more accessible to anyone who would like to try play-writing. My thanks to Leanne Dyck, who very enthusiastically agreed to talk with us today.
Last July, the theatre group on my small, remote island home circulated an email soliciting entries for their short play contest. Five plays would be selected to be performed on stage.
I knew I would accept this opportunity to flex my writing muscles but…
-But I’d never written a play before
-But what would I write?
-But could I finish writing my play in time to meet the submission deadline? It was only a few weeks away.
-But I was working on so many writing projects could I add one more?
As I tried to answer these questions, I kept returning to my newly finished novella. It has strong dialogue and action; it would make an entertaining play, I told myself. Inspired, I set to work transforming the novella into a short play.
Soon a problem arose – what was I going to do about the internal dialogue? A friend suggested the use of gestures and facial expressions. I knew that would help but it wouldn’t be enough. I needed one character to be able to talk to the audience without the other character hearing her. I found a solution when I learned about the theatrical device known as an aside.
That problem solved, my pen flew across the page and soon I’d finished writing the play. Of course, I thought my play was brilliant. In search of feedback, I requested help from my writing group and their suggestions were invaluable. Revisions followed and then I submitted my play. Every minute I waited to hear the winner announced felt like an hour. But on one seemingly ordinary day, I received an email congratulating me. My play had won its spot on stage.
Not for me a backseat on the rest of this journey. I dived in determined to help. The actors and director were generous with this new playwright. We worked together on my play.
Some playwrights are adamant that the actors speaking the words they’ve written. How ever valid, this wasn’t my approach. I didn’t want the characters to be stale; I wanted them to come to life on stage. With my encouragement, the actors suggested dialogue changes and I happily made revisions. Many rehearsals later, and I can barely believe it but the time has come, next Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, our play will be staged.
Here are a few tips to think about if you are thinking of writing a play:
-Fall in love with the story
-Vital ingredients: strong dialogue and action
-An aside is an excellent way to convey a character’s thoughts on stage
-Once you’ve finished writing your play, gather feedback from valued sources
-At some point your play is going to become our play and then it will feel like their play. Prepare yourself for this emotional roller coaster.
Please visit my blog for the conclusion to this story. Thank you, Dyane, I enjoyed being a guest on your blog.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, urbanite Aster Walburn is forced to join her husband, KJ, on Mayne Island. On the island, Aster is greeted by long-time resident Kate. How will Aster deal with everything the transition from city to island brings?
Within the last five years, Leanne Dyck has been published in Island Writer, Kaleidoscope, Canadian Stories, Icelandic Connection and Island Gals magazines. She lives with her husband on Mayne Island, B.C. Contact her at http://authorleannedyck.blogspot.com