Playwriting Exercise: A play in a picture

I was teaching at a school and they had a number of production posters on the wall from various Shakespeare plays. I was intrigued by these two completely different posters for King Lear. The images are strikingly different, and suggest two completely different visions for the same piece of theatre, from the colour palette, to the way Lear is represented in each, to choice of font for the title. I think that time has passed but at one time the poster was a specific way to shine a little light into how the text is going to be presented. It was a direct communication from production to audience.

I love seeing different interpretations of a work, especially mine. Text interpretation is an art – you take what you see on the page and bring it to life on the stage. It’s wonderful to see different director envision a text – it’s the same words, the same characters and yet two directors can see two different plays.

Exercise: Create a poster for the play you’re writing. Distill your work down into one image, one colour palette, and one choice of font for your title. What is the one image that represents your theme? Your main character? Would you do a black and white poster? Primary colours? A photograph or a drawing. Would you choose a rigid font or something more playful?

lear 2Lear one

About the author

Lindsay Price