|This clock belongs to DragynAlly|
In the Nick of Time
Hey guys! Since everyone loved the first two installments I figured we should keep the series going. For this week we're going to talk about time, as in the amount of time it take for your story to get done. A lot of times when we're working on plays we think a lot about the amount of time that it's going to take on the stage. But sometimes we don't think about how much time that it takes for your story to happen. So let's take a look at the possibilities. Remember, don't think about time in page count, think about the time ticking by in your character's lives.
The Stop Watch
Can you make you story happen in a matter of seconds? Can you make it happen in a matter of minutes? Sometimes the best stories out there, the best fight scenes, moments, kisses, and pulls of a trigger can happen in the blink of an eye. Can you highlight that moment, slow things down, repeat something, take something from another person's perspective?
In the Ancient Greek plays people used to follow the Unity of Time. The entire story had to be told within a 24 hour period. That's two times around the clock. Can your play happen in less time? Can your story be condensed into an hour? Can you pick up the story at the worst six hours in the character's life? Maybe it's a slice of the life of a group of people that gives us a peek at their inner secrets.
Some stories take place over a series of months. How can you capture those months? Maybe a story is told with the changing of the seasons. What about a whole sports season? Maybe your story spans a whole year? What happened last Christmas that makes this Christmas different? Maybe you're following a kids whole school year. Embrace the seasons and the possibilities!
I see very few plays that span more than a few years. I think this is a disgrace! What kind of stories could be told over decades? What kind of stories could be told over centuries? Think millenia! What changes about your story when told over a large scale? Think of the Medieval cycle plays or the relatively recent Kentucky Cycle.
We think about page count all the time as playwrights and that's fine sometimes. But what are we missing out on when we let that dictate our story. What happens when you let the time of the story be your master?
So that's it for this week guys. Keep embracing crazy ideas and get those plays out there! Theatre has had enough of safe let's get crazy!