Video Tip – Performing Abstract Plays

Written by Craig Mason

Today we offer a video tip from Lindsay.

How do you get the most mileage out of abstract plays?


Welcome to our video tip series. We have a lot of abstract plays in our catalog: Tick Talk, where characters only speak one word or one phrase for the whole play, Tuna Fish Eulogy, which is a ladder play, so actors read their lines from top to bottom instead of left to right. And it’s really easy to forget about character development when you’re faced with such a bold form. Here’s the thing: Strong forms need strong characters. Otherwise, the performance becomes uneven. Further, when the performance is all about form, the audience may be intrigued, but they’re less likely to connect, they’re less likely to engage. They may say to you, “Oh, that was such a neat play.” Ugh! Kiss of death! Audiences engage and connect to characters, so if the playwright hasn’t given you any character details, fill in the blanks. Create a character profile: Name, age, family, likes and dislikes, secrets, pet peeves, memories. These details will bring dimension to your character, and will go a long way to evening out the performance and blowing the audience away.

That’s my tip.

About the author

Craig Mason