Came across this interesting examination of “The Neverism.” Writer Erin McKean delves into a new book by Mardy Grothe on a collection of sayings dealing with “never.” Dr Grothe has a whole slew of books on words and wit, just my cup of tea.
What is a neverism you ask? Well let me share. Neverisms are –
“Statements intended to advise against a particular thing or action.”
You would instantly know a neverism:
- Never judge a book by its cover.
- Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
- Never say never.
The list goes on and on. McKean describes in her article that the appeal of Neverisms is their black and white quality:
“Humans are always looking for simple rules – heuristics, if you want to get fancy – to help us lighten the complicated cognitive load of decision-making. Many neverisms offer a path to nirvana by giving us one thing to focus on, and one thing only.”
So. The playwriting exercise should seem elementary:
- Choose a Neverism.
- Place two characters in a confined space, somewhere they have to stay till the end of the scene.
- Theatricalize the neverism. How would it play out between the two characters?