We have a great community of amazing playwrights here at Theatrefolk that contribute to our collection of middle and high school plays. We hope you’ll enjoy this peek behind the curtain as they share how they approach the creative process, how they overcome challenges, and what advice they have for young playwrights. Don’t forget to check out their work!
Almost all the plays I write have either direct address to the audience, or the audience is enlisted as part of the play – for example, the audience becomes a game show crowd in Hamlette, and in Postcards From Shakespeare I use the audience for Timon of Athens (because the only other Timon joke I could think of was “who?”)
Two–and this will sound terribly crass–money. Specifically, money that I work for once by writing the play and then see a trickle of royalties for years. I know artists are supposed to be doing it for the art and not talking about filthy lucre, but this is my job. And I’m good at it because it’s my job–because I am able to spend all my time on it. And I couldn’t do that if I was squeezing out ten minutes here and there. That’s not to say people can’t write part-time–there are a ton of amazing playwrights who also teach, or perform, or direct, or have all sorts of non-theatre jobs, but I’m really bad at time management so I need a lot of it.
I’d also say ‘getting started.’ In some ways I’m very open about my work–I approve 90% of script change requests, I love cross-casting, I love seeing people be creative. I don’t even mind terrible reviews that much. But at the beginning of the process, one tiny little thing can throw me off–Like, I have a play about online interaction that I’m 15 pages in, which is halfway for a competition script, and I mentioned the idea to someone who said “Oh, well, that may not be timely in a year, because technology changes so much,” and even though they weren’t trying to be mean, it was someone I love and respect and it was like they stepped on my little flower sprout. I don’t know why I’m so dainty at the beginning–honestly, it’s easier to take “sorry, we don’t want your finished script” than to have the idea criticized at the beginning, even in a well-meaning way. At that stage of the process, all I want is reinforcement. Maybe it will suck, but let me write it and find out.
The editing thing is much easier to deal with. I’m an editor myself of mostly fiction, and it’s a genuine pleasure to help authors improve their work, so I can really see the other side and the motivation. Plus, it’s happened enough now that I’m comfortable with the notes-sulking-rewriting process.
Read sample pages from Allison Williams's plays here!