I saw a play last night. I didn’t like it. Being a playwright, I’m trying to figure out why. What lesson I can learn from it.
Of course, the answer could just be that I’m not the right audience for that play. Not everyone is going to like every play.
The play was “Sylvia,” by A. R. Gurney, it was done at Seattle Rep. Now, before I go farther, there was a lot of good stuff about the production. The actors, the direction, the costumes, the set; Seattle Rep is a great place.
I wasn’t interested, that’s all. I wasn’t engaged.
There are a whole lot of possible reasons.
- The script is flawed.
- The direction didn’t serve the story.
- One or more of the actors were miscast.
- The actors were having an off night.
- The audience wasn’t responsive.
- I was in a bad mood.
And a whole lot of other reasons that I’m not sure I would notice. Like maybe the lighting design was terrible, or the costumes were distracting.
It was a small audience, at the last performance of the week. Maybe the actors were feeling lack of energy from the audience. Maybe they were just tired.
Maybe I was in a bad mood.
But enough disclaimers. Enough benefit of the doubt. Here’s what I didn’t like:
The performance missed the emotional depth that the characters, and the story, could have. I thought it was played for laughs. The husband and wife, particularly, didn’t act like they had known each other for (at least) 22 years.
The problem could be the script. So I checked it out of the library.
Which leads me to…
How to see more possibilities in your play
Have you ever had people read your play and thought they were doing it all wrong? Maybe, there are more possibilities in your script than you thought.
- Pick a play to go see.
- Get the script and read it.
- Make notes about what you feel it would look and sound like on stage. Set, costumes, types of actors, direction.
- Go see the play.
- Make notes about what you saw.
- Reread the script.
- Make notes about how you see it differently now.
What do you think?
Try this! Let us know how you like it, and what you learn. Post here.