Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rules of good theatre (or a play)

1. You do not talk about the PLAY.
2. You DO NOT talk about the PLAY.
3. If someone says "stop," goes limp, or taps out the PLAY is over.
4. Only two guys to a PLAY.
5. One PLAY at a time.
6. No shirts, no shoes.
7. PLAYS will go on as long as they have to.
8. If this is your first PLAY, you have to...write?

Okay, so number 8 was pretty lame. But I'm loving number 3.

Fight Club aside, here are a few rules I came up with:

1. The material and performance must challenge the audience in some way. It must cause the audience members to reflect on themselves (i.e. beliefs, character traits/flaws).
2. There should be a character that the audience either: a) loves to hate or b) hates to love.
3. I think a good script calls for the performers' own interpretation and improvisation. Not just that there's room for it, but really requires that each performer bring something to the table.
4. Not every play needs to end with resolution. Of course, the path from the play's beginning to end still needs to make sense even if the play doesn't wrap up nicely.
5. A playwright should not answer EVERY question. The audience should walk away wondering a little, thus giving them the opportunity to fill in their own stories. SOME loose ends are okay.
6. I think all playwrights/actors should incorporate the idea of GROWTH into their scripts/performances. There has to be a challenge, a feat, an exploration, a discovery.
7. A least one scene in a play should challenge the actor(s) mentally, emotionally, and vocally. Referencing Joseph Pilates and the lovely Andrea Beckham, I want to see the actors using their girdle of support, squeezing their juicy peach, and really speaking from their core.
8. There should be at least one character that reminds me of someone I know.
9. Sort of getting into spectacle, I think there should be some quality in the play or performance that causes audience members to avert their eyes or blush or shift in their seats. Whether it's simple costume choices or props, or maybe a sex scene or drug use. It can even be two characters discussing a controversial subject like war or abortion. Acting is reacting and I think theatre itself is a series of actions and reactions. It creates this unique dialogue between collaborators and the audience. Again, it's all about growing.

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