Playwriting

5 questions with Patrick Derksen

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 Patrick Derksen – the author of many popular plays including A Lighter Shade of Noir.

What was your first theatrical experience? How did it impact you?
My first time acting was a school play in grade 5 or 6… It was a Christmas production, and I starred as a kid who ruined the choir with his horrible voice. Needless to say, I came by the part very naturally…

 

Why do you write plays?
I’ve always written fiction for my own enjoyment – stories are always playing out in my head anyway, so I may as well write them down. The reason I write plays is for my own students to perform – there is a clear objective from the start; it will be performed at Christmas or our Spring Drama. I can tailor them to our needs and acting strengths, as well as the students’ interests. I really want something the kids are going to enjoy performing, so I take matters into my own hands.

What’s the most challenging part of writing a play?
 The time! Being a teacher (as well as having a family with young kids) means my time is pretty limited. It’s funny that my reason for writing plays (being a middle-years teacher) is also the reason I don’t have time to write as many as I would like. But it’s balanced pretty nicely so far.

How do you address/overcome those challenges?
By having an amazing wife who takes care of my kids while I seal myself in a writing space for hours at a time. Christmas and Spring Breaks are essential as well.

I’ve also come to terms with that fact that I won’t be writing plays every year.

What advice do you have for young writers struggling to finish a draft?
 Finish it even though you’re not happy. It’s better to be finished with a something you’re not completely pleased with than not finished at all.

 

 

Read sample pages from Patrick Derksen's plays here!

About the author

Lindsay Price