Playwriting

5 questions with Treanor Baring

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 Treanor Baring – the author of Almost History: that whole space time continuum thing.

What was your first theatrical experience? How did it impact you?
I attended the local children’s theatre performance of Peter Pan. From then on, I was hooked (sorry). I started out as an actor, but then I discovered that my real passion was for the origination of the material, and its interpretation. So I went into television writing and directing.

Why do you write plays?
I started writing for educational television because I loved writing for and about kids. I have a quirky sense of humor so I see the comic possibilities in a lot of situations. I wrote Almost History: that whole space time continuum thing after a visit to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. The first scene I wrote takes place during the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but the play quickly evolved to include a bunch of different historical scenes. I write plays because of the rush I get from being creative.

What’s the most challenging part of writing a play?
It’s always a challenge to get in the “zone” where the writing comes easily and flows from the intuitive part of my brain. That’s the most challenging part, but it’s also the most rewarding.

How do you address/overcome those challenges?
First, I have to spend a great deal of brain “prep time,” researching, outlining, doing the conscious work of developing a plot, characters. Then, I have to let go of the intentionality and just daydream about the play I’m writing. Sitting at a stoplight or on a bus is a great time to begin to form a scene. Almost like magic, the characters start talking on their own. Then, it’s a mad rush to the keyboard to take down what they are saying.

What advice do you have for young writers struggling to finish a draft?
I’ve been there with projects that bog down, that take a lot of effort to get on paper. It goes back to giving the creative, intuitive side of your brain the freedom to explore the possibilities. Put down the draft, and whatever screen you’re on, and let your mind wander. Let go of the angst about whatever it is that’s blocking you. Imagine your mind is a house and your characters are all moping in the back yard. Invite them in and listen to what they have to say and where they want to take their stories. Sounds weird, but it’s a brainstorming method that works for me. And there’s always that old cliché, kill your darlings. Get rid of the scene that blocks the plot even if it is your favorite. Have faith that your creative spirit will lead you in a good direction.

Read sample pages from Treanor Baring's plays here!

About the author

Lindsay Price