Playwriting Exercise: The Graveyard

I’m not done with the graveyard just yet. (Did you check out our in-depth blog post from earlier this week? It’s a Research and Write Unit based on a tombstone.)

Playwriting Exercise Graveyard

Here we have two pictures from a graveyard – a jumble of stones and then a close up of a stone.

Let’s start with the picture on the left.


  1. Automatic write on the picture for two minutes. When you see this picture, what comes to mind? Write down everything and anything – there are no bad ideas, there are no wrong answers – put it all on the page.

  2. Answer the following questions about the picture. Don’t worry about the facts of the picture, use your own imagination for the answers.

    • Where is this graveyard?
    • Who is buried here?
    • Why is it in disrepair?
    • Who took this picture and why?
    • What is happening just outside the frame?
  3. Write a monologue for the person who took the picture. What is going on inside their head at the exact moment they snapped the shot? Who are they thinking of? Why did they need to take this picture?

Now move to the picture on the right. This is of a specific tombstone – Valeria T. She died at the age of 13. For this picture, try writing a monologue in the style of Emily from Our Town. (Act 3, from “I can’t. I can’t go on” to “every, every minute?”) After her death, Emily tries to reach out to her mother. Being dead, she can’t.


Write a monologue for Valeria in which she speaks from beyond the grave. She is speaking to her mother, who is kneeling in front of the tombstone. She’s trying to reach out to her mother, but can’t. What does she say? What does she want her mother to know? What has she learned after death that she wished she knew in life?

Click here for a printable PDF of these exercises.


About the author

Lindsay Price