Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Advice to Young Playwrights Revisted!

Reposting one of our all-time most popular entries today. This debuted on the blog December 1, 2012 with some thoughts from a few of the actors and readers who have worked on the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival.


What makes a strong play?
A strong play has great characters and a moving/interesting plot.

A strong play is not necessarily a traditional story, but like any good story, it has a reason for being told here and now. A play's sole purpose can be entertainment, but that does not diminish the importance of the question: Why this play now?

What types of characters do you like to portray/write?
I love to play the comic relief most of the time. The character that can do no wrong and everybody loves him. Though playing a villain is also fun… playing a character that is not who I am.

I like to portray characters that are complicated. In real life, people are not stock characters. Real people have different layers to their character and sides of themselves that they don't always show the public, but are still inside. Stock characters are great in some genres of theatre (such as Commedia dell'arte), but realistic characters are complicated.

I find the most success writing characters whose actions are firmly based in the circumstances of the play. I always try to make sure that a character's actions spring from his/her surroundings or from other characters. Every action should be justifiable, even if it isn't logical (or sane).

What do you look for when choosing a play to work on?
I look for a play that has strong character relationships and a great conflict that those characters encounter.

I look for a play with language that makes the room buzz when it's read aloud. This can be dialogue in the form of a fierce, biting argument, or monologue in the form of a soulful soliloquy. This language seems to come from sincere and causal circumstances.

What advice would you give to a young playwright currently working on a new play?
To keep a positive and open mind. Believe in your work and give it your all.

Writing a play can be difficult, but it does not have to be sequential. Writing the last scene first, a middle scene last or a random scene with no definite place can ease the difficulty of writing scenes in order. Write the part you're dying to write!

Be open-minded. It is perfectly fine to have a clear vision for what you wish to accomplish with your piece, but be open to new ideas from people who haven't been working tirelessly on the script for months. Sometimes outsiders can offer ideas that you never would have thought of before! Try some ideas out and if they don't work, there's nothing wrong with scrapping them.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Submission Reminder!

Our Title Page Information database shows that we may have 105 entries to the 2014 NJ Young Playwrights Festival so far; however, we have not received anywhere near as many scripts. If you are submitting work to the Festival, please remember that you must register online AND send us your script via email. Contact us for help, if needed. Thanks!