How I got good feedback for a living-room reading of “Transplanted in Mississippi”

Last Saturday, I had some actors come over and read the latest draft of my play “Transplanted in Mississippi.” This is the one I had the reading of last November. It is really REALLY close to being ready to send out.

I wanted to get feedback that would tell me whether I had told the story that I wanted to tell. I also wanted the actors to be able to express their opinions about the play. I also wanted to make sure they knew how much I appreciated their reading and their feedback.

The Questions I Asked, and Why I Asked Them

1. Who is the main character? What does the main character want? Does he or she get it?

This is always a good question. (Well, a good set of questions.) If you want your play to have a main character — and in this one I did — it’s important to know whether you succeeded.

2. As an actor, were there places you weren’t sure what your character wanted?

This is an excellent question, because it can show you places where your intent is unclear or where the character acts inconsistently. A great follow-up to this question is to ask the actors what they thought you were trying to do and what parts of the script made them say that. Then you know what’s not accomplishing what you want in your play, and you know what to change.

3. If you had to describe this play to a friend in one or two sentences, what would you say?

This is a great question for letting you know what point you’re actually making in your play, what story you’re actually telling. If it’s the story you want to tell, great. If it’s not… time to do more work.

4. Who do you think would like this play?

This is an excellent question for helping you get ideas about what theaters would like your play. Pick cities where there’s a high population of the kind of people who would like your play.

5. Is there anything else you want to say about the play?

This time, I didn’t have to ask this question because people had already said a lot of things. And then it was 6:00, which is when I said the reading would be over, so I thanked everybody warmly and appreciatively, and they left.

The Feedback They Gave

They really liked it! They thought the play had a nice, warm, sweet, magical tone. They all agreed on who the main character was, and what she wanted: to find a place to feel at home.

They pointed out some puzzling spots, and some things that felt unresolved. So now I know what to do, those last few little things to wrap up, before I start submitting it.

I Am a Fortunate Playwright

I have wonderful playwright and actor friends, who are generous with their time in reading my plays and giving feedback.

I’ve written a play that I love, that expresses my passion.

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This entry was posted in How to get Good Feedback, My play "How to Kill a Cactus". Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How I got good feedback for a living-room reading of “Transplanted in Mississippi”

  1. Pearl Klein says:

    I loved your list of questions. Being specific about what you’re asking helps you get usable answers, so different from the workshop discussions that get hung up on what the reader liked or how they would rewrite it.

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