Friday, April 23, 2010

Never written a play? Try it!



Those of you who have never considered writing a stage play might rethink your decision.

Writing for the stage is an attractive way to get the voices in your head onto the computer screen. If you're clever enough to advance your play to production, seeing your work dramatized is as exciting as your name in print.

I speak from experience. My first dramatic efforts were produced in 1957 when, at age eight, Miss Nelson (my third grade teacher) commissioned me to write a Thanksgiving play for our class.

The compensation was, I recall, recognition at the annual Thanksgiving all-school assembly.

And so it came to pass that, early on, I became hooked on writing dialogue and direction.

In the years to follow, I wrote plays for the congregations I led. (Yes - that's right. I am a professional clergywoman, remember?) No one is more appreciative of creativity than the mothers and fathers of senior-high children; especially when the off spring are cast in roles that mimic Vana White, Britney Spears and Johnny Depp.

These days, retired from both the church and my work with print media, my first play PAPER DADDY was recently optioned by a local theatre. When it opens, over two hundred readers/fans have promised they will storm the theatre to watch my characters come to life.

I'm writing a second play - under consideration by the Minnesota History Theatre. This one is close to my heart - a historically true telling of the experiences of a young, female seminarian in the late 1970's. GOD GIRLS is autobiographical, based in the Twin Cities and set in Princeton, New Jersey.


When I sit down to deepen the characters, I am transported to the pre-feminist days of my girlhood when self-doubt was always reinforced by the criticism by the many men who dominated my work and home environment.

Revisiting history is clarifying. I am reminded of two things; how far we have come and how much more work there is to do.

These insights are, I'm certain, available to the essayist and the fiction writer.

Only in theatre, however, does the author have the opportunity to see her work, interpreted and acted, by other artists.

Don't let the image of Shakespeare intimate you. Step into the spotlight. Write a stage play.

Give it a shot. I promise you, you'll enjoy the exercise.

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