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Part of the Distance Learning Curriculum

Playwriting: Part 1

Created by Lindsay Price

Every drama program should have a playwriting unit. Playwriting applies creative thinking skills and, through feedback and revision, critical thinking skills. Playwriting also allows students to engage in self-expression. It is a powerful act to take one’s thoughts, give them to a character, and have them said aloud.

Playwriting can be a practical task-driven process that any student can accomplish, given the right parameters. This playwriting unit is broken into two parts. This unit is Part 1.

Part 1 is a standalone playwriting unit for beginning writers. Students go step by step through the elements of the playwriting process, which culminates in a short scene, monologue, and character profile. All the exercises can be done synchronously in your class sessions or small groups through breakout rooms.

The overview lays out the lessons within the unit, including time management and technology requirements.
Additional Attachments
1: What is a Playwright?
Students write on their preconceived notions about playwriting, their expectations and fears, and identify actions: What does a playwright do?
2: Where Do Ideas Come From?
In this lesson, students will explore different methods of gathering ideas.
3: Monologue
In this lesson, students will analyze existing monologues, identify the criteria for a good monologue, and write their own monologues in the practice session.
4: Dialogue
In this lesson, students will write two-character, one-location, ten-line scenes to practice getting to the heart of effective and efficient scene writing.
5: Character
Character is one of the backbone elements of a good play. In this lesson, students will work on a character profile.
6: Conflict
Along with character, conflict is one of the backbone elements of a good play. In this lesson, students will work on a conflict profile.
7: Unit Project
The final project for Part 1 of this unit is for students to write examples of what has been explored so far in the following way: • A two-person, one-location, one-page scene. • Each character has a want, there is an obstacle to their want, and they apply tactics to get what they want. • A separate (ie: not included in the scene) half-page monologue for one of the characters in the scene. • A character profile for each of the characters. The objective is for students to apply all the elements they’ve learned so far in dramatic writing.

Standards Addressed

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