Shakespeare has writer’s block. Nothing inspires him. The best he can come up with is “Now is the winter of our irritation!” Postcards from Shakespeare by Allison Williams is so much more than your typical Shakespeare spoof.

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Observation: The conversation you can only see

Observation is my number one tool for finding play ideas. When you observe, you’re not just looking around, skimming the world around you. Observation is the specific looking at people, places and things. You’re looking at the world like a writer. And when you look at the world like a writer, everything becomes a play idea.

Complete this exercise with your students. Have them collect their observations in their drama journals. Or you can click below to download the exercise and Observation sheet to print and hand out to your students to fill in.

The conversation you can only see

What’s happening in the conversation on the other side of the cafeteria? What are they talking about? What is the relationship? What does the body language of the conversation tell you about the emotional tone?

You can observe a lot in a conversation that you can only see.

  • Find a location with a lot of small group conversation – a mall food court, a school hallway, a cafeteria.
  • Pick out a conversation that you can only see. You shouldn’t be able to hear what they’re saying.
  • Take notes on what you see. What do you observe? How many people are in the conversation? What is the body language of the different people? Is there any physical contact? A lack of contact?
  • Based on what you see, decide on the content of the conversation. What are they talking about?
  • Write out your version of the conversation. What’s going to be outcome?
Click here to download this exercise - plus an Observation sheet!
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