Playwriting

5 questions with John Minigan

Written by Lindsay Price

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!

Meet Theatrefolk Playwright John Minigan – the author of many popular plays including an adaptation of Shakepeare’s The Comedy of Errors.

What was your first theatrical experience? How did it impact you?
I played Androcles in a class production of Androcles and the Lion in fifth grade. I think it probably convinced me I’m not an actor–but that being part of the unfolding of a story in real time in front of real people is one of the most powerful experiences we can have.

Why do you write plays?
Theater is powerful, huge, human and life-changing. Actors are incredibly brave souls who experience, on stage and in public, things the rest of us never want to experience. I have never really felt completely at home doing that, but I love putting the basis of that experience on paper and watching the magic of actors, directors and designers create the live experience for an audience.

What’s the most challenging part of writing a play?
I think the biggest challenge is to write with a sense of what the play is doing in time and space–keeping in mind that what matters is not the words on the page or even in the mouths of the characters, but how the moment-by-moment of the live experience is happening in the theater for the actors and audience.

How do you address/overcome those challenges?

When I’m writing, sometimes I write very quickly. I have to slow myself down and remember that the most powerful moments I’ve experienced in a theater have been the moments when time seems to stop and I understand the human being on stage in ways I never expected. When the “action” of the play reveals something about the people.

What advice do you have for young writers struggling to finish a draft?
Decide how it ends and get yourself there. My most aimless and frustrating writing has been when I don’t know where the character journeys end or what my point is. Once I decide those things, it’s easier to finish. So make those choices and finish–and if you don’t like what it turned into, then it’s easier to rewrite.

 

Read sample pages from John Minigan's plays here!

About the author

Lindsay Price