1. There must be a plot and conflict.
2. There must be at least some comedy, otherwise I think the audience gets bored/overburdened.
3. The characters must be strong enough that the audience will care what happens to them. (I admit, I am not sure I managed this in my long play.)
4. I think some sort of soundtrack is preferred--and by that I mean music appears at least a little, not only sound effects.
5. Most of the characters must be passionate about something/someone. And they can be passionate without being loud.
6. The set must not get in the way of the performance, it must not take away from the actors.
7. I wouldn't say this is a rule...but I love it when characters talk to and interact with the audience.
8. Good theater has a theme, it leaves the audience with something to think about. Ideally audience members will want to discuss the show afterward.
9. Good theater (as I said at the beginning of the semester) will make you relate to something, whether you could relate to it before you saw the play or not. It will teach you about yourself, and others who you may never know.
10. Good theater makes you very glad you moseyed out of your house to go see it. Good theater makes you want to come back and see it again with friends, or alone.
11. Good theater makes you think about life from a new angle, if only for a little while.
12. The Jenga example--every line must have a purpose. But then it's fun to confuse the audience or be a confused audience member, too.
13. I am finding that scenes should not ONLY develop characters, they need to move the plot forward, too. I'm not 100% sure this should be a rule, though.
14. A playwright should try to create an image or spectacle that will stand out in the audience's mind. Make them see something they've never seen before, or shed new light on the ordinary.
15. Don't have too many settings, it will throw people off. "Too many" is subjective, you decide.
16. Make sure flashbacks are quite clearly flashbacks...unless your goal is for the audience to be unsure that it's a flashback they're watching.
17. Do your research so that you know what really went down, but feel free to be as historically incorrect as you want.
18. Good theatre often offends people, and that's okay. Awesome, even!
19. The beginning of a play must be attention-getting and/or emotional, it must reel the audience in.
20. Scratch that last one--there are plenty of great novels that have slow beginnings and turn into pure awesome later, so I don't see why a play MUST begin with a bang. No reason to feed our already short attention spans. ...Granted, a play is not a novel, but I still stick by this.
21. Endings can be abrupt!