Archive for December, 2009


December 24, 2009

Despite it taking much work and having long gestation periods, I work almost entirely in full-length works of 70 minutes (70 is the new 90) to 2 hours. While I’ve written three 10-minute plays – one of which was produced by the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco – I don’t find them fulfilling to write and am unlikely to write more.

I also don’t find 10-minute plays fulfilling to watch.

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Politeness in dialog

December 22, 2009

In The Economist is an article on politeness in English (subscription apparently now required) and in other languages around the globe.  This is – well not quite timely; I’ve been working on the first draft of this play for over three years – of interest to me in the alternate history play I’ve been working on, My Visit to America. In that play, set in a very different present from our own, the language – which might be English or perhaps the play has been translated into English – retains three politeness levels.

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Write what you don’t know

December 20, 2009

After my dismissal of Chekov’s law, the next phrase I’d love to see disappear from playwriting feedback sessions is Write What You Know. I put that in all caps because if you’ve ever heard this at a feedback session you know it is delivered as a lecture from on high – you can hear the caps – not as a reasoned comment on the playwright’s play that they have brought to the feedback session.

But even if feedback sessions were a place for lectures on craft, Write What You Know would not belong there, because Write What You Know doesn’t even belong in a lecture on craft, except to dispel the notion that there is anything to be gained by following it.

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Erasing history

December 19, 2009

Most theatres have Web sites.  Most theatre Web sites have the (understandable) goal of getting potential audiences to those theatres to see their work, potential donors to donate money, potential actors and directors to associate with the theatre, and in general to educate the public about their reason for existence.

The theatres may or may not be interested in getting playwrights to submit plays to them. Yet, it is the desire of (most) playwrights to submit plays to theatres in hopes of getting a production. Unfortunately, many theatres omit some very basic information for playwrights from their Web site:

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Repeal Chekov’s Law

December 18, 2009

You know the law, the one that says (approximately) if you introduce a gun in the first act then it has to go off by the third. Get rid of it. Now!

There are big problems with it:

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