Lately there’s been a theme around here. A theme involving theatre. And apparently it’s not enough to be in a play (now closed) or workshopping Shakespeare scenes via Zoom (potentially upcoming). I’m writing plays, too.
This isn’t exactly a new development. I wrote my first play when I was about ten, then my sixth grade teacher made the terrible, terrible mistake of letting me drag my classmates into performing it for the school. (I’m sure there was video evidence at one point, but I hope it has since been destroyed.) Then a few years ago I wrote another play for my community theatre group’s annual 24 Hour New Play Festival. It could use a polish or three, but I’m still proud of it. I started–but have not finished–another when I was pregnant with my daughter.
So I haven’t done many, but I like writing plays. I like it a lot. Which led me to take an online class back in May. Which resulted in a script for a ten minute play.
I’m not generally a fan of ten minute plays. They trend toward cheesy, trite, and go for the cheap laughs. (I am always in search of the exceptions, however, so please send any recommendations you may have my way!)
But I kind of love my little script. It doesn’t do quite what I want it to yet–that’s for revision–but it let me play with language, poetry and ideas I’ve wanted to work out for a while. I meant to make those ideas blog posts or short stories and just hadn’t been able to get it right. Putting them into this script felt like getting it right. (Now I need to get the script itself right.)
So here’s today’s writing advice for you: if there’s something you want to do, or say, or explore and it just doesn’t seem to be working out, try a different medium. Instead of a short story, try an essay, or Instead of an essay, try a poem. Instead of a poem, try a play. Paint it or dance to it or sing.
Writing plays won’t replace novels or short stories. Not by a long shot. But it’s another tool, another skill, another way of saying what I want to say.