Directing

Morality Play

Had an interesting email today. A teacher was directing a play and had cast the lead and he had later come to her very upset. It seems that he was finding the play very dark and couldn’t find the “morality” in the play and thus was having a hard time with it. The teacher asked if there was any way I could explain it to him.

Alas, my answer was that the play is dark because the characters find life hard. They make mistakes, they muddle through, they do their best and sometimes it’s not enough. Life is dark. Life is not perfect. There are bad guys and sometimes they win. The end.

I think that was especially hard for this particular person. Good did not win in the end.

In my dramas, particularly with the high stake issues, good rarely wins. There may be hope, I think hope is very important, but it’s rarely your happy, everything sewn up in a bow ending. I like leaving questions at the end, I like showing that while the issues of the play maybe dealt with, the characters have many more issues to come. I often describe my plays as showing a picture, a flash card of someone’s life – there’s stuff that happened before and stuff that will happen after.

I think this teacher has a great handle on the situation but ultimately it will be up to the student to decide if “good doesn’t win” is too difficult to overcome. I hope he sticks with it.

About the author

Lindsay Price