Playwriting

Interpretation.

As I’ve mentioned before Chicken. Road. is my latest play. It was presented by Listowel District Secondary School in the Sears Drama Festival. The performance won Outstanding Production at the District level and went on to perform at the West Regional Showcase.

What was amazing about the production was the interpretation of the show. This is a play about student reaction to the suicide of a class mate and uses the old joke “Why did the chicken cross the road” as a jumping off point. The main stage direction in the script states that the cast stands across the stage in a line for the majority of the play. As you see in the video, they went above and beyond that stage direction…..

This is a great example of interpretation of a script without changing a script to suit an agenda. Not a single word was changed and everything the cast and director did with their actions was in complete support of the playwright’s (mine!) intention. That is the key phrase – playwright intention. If you’re staying true to the playwright and their intention with the words, frankly you can do the play standing on your head.

I saw a production of a different show today where the teacher (I know she reads this, hello!!!) was nervous about changing the action but as far as I could see everything on stage was in support of playwright intention. In fact, I saw a couple of lovely transitions that I’m going to end to the final draft. There was respect of the text and that’s all I can ask for.

Sometimes I am very vague with stage directions for this exact reason – I want to see what the production brings to the table. Sure, sometimes I write out specific stage pictures because that’s what comes into my head while writing. And sometimes schools present those pictures exactly as is, which is perfectly fine, and sometimes a school will get an idea and run with it. I love both ways equally because at the end of the day it’s my script out in the world. I love that someone can look at a script and go one way, while someone else goes in another direction. That’s theatre to me.

Music credit: LA by The Nighttime Adventure Society
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About the author

Lindsay Price