We started the session with a Noel Grieg exercise on creating instant stories.
Three words – daffodil, cat, kitchen. Tell a story starting with the words, yesterday, using each of the words in the order given.
A few more variations;
Banana, football and telephone starting with I don’t understand why.
Computer, crocodile and toast starting with the phrase, today I would like.
Television, chicken and bed starting with, the world would be a better place.
Then we looked again at structures, talking about 3 act structures, classic five act structures which are still around but not seen very often. We talked about the conventional and obvious reason for breaking up a play into acts like change of location, or time – or the need for an interval. Also there are non-linear and disrupted structures. Within the acts are the scenes, where breaks need to be there for a reason not just because.
We then looked at action within the play and we were asked to think about our idea and describe it focusing on the action. Within that description we had to think about the conflict so something is happening but something is stopping it. Maybe it’s the main action of the protagonist but the antagonist is causing the conflict.
After a while of playing with sentences I came up with;
Hedydd is trying to get her therapy clients to talk dirty but a man with a gun wants them to come clean and admit the truth. I’ve tried to sum up the play lots of times but it was definitely easier to simply focus on the action of the play and the conflicts, and definitely good to find the “but” of the idea.
If we think about the action as how it plays into the structure then we have to think how to keep the action pushing the energy through the acts.
Moving swiftly on we started an exercise on finding the axis of the play. This is about finding the two opposing principles in the play that cause the conflict. eg justice/injustice. This is harder than you might think because though it might be easy to find two opposing words what you’re trying to do is to find two word that not only express the conflict of your play but express it in a way that is unique and also expresses why your idea is distinctive.
Then finally as we approached the end of the end of our sessions we talked about beginnings and endings. The beginning – get in there, explain what’s happening without exposition, set it all up then interrupt it all with an inciting incident.
And then endings – think of the ending as another beginning, the new status quo. Is
it a comedy or a tragedy? Does it need to end well or end in punishment.