Playwriting Unit: Beginner

Created by Lindsay Price

This unit provides an introduction to the process of playwriting in a practical step-by-step framework. Playwriting can be a practical task-driven process that any student can accomplish, given the right parameters. This playwriting unit will give students the tools they need to write their first short play and gain the confidence they need to write further. The culminating project for this unit is a three- to five-page play or extended scene.

The overview lays out the outcome, objectives, and description of the unit as well as a breakdown of each of the 12 lessons in the unit.
Additional Attachments
1: What is a Playwright
In this first lesson, students discuss 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: Monologues
In this lesson, students will analyze existing monologues, identify the criteria for a good monologue, and write their own monologue 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
In this lesson, students will work on a character profile and apply character development details to a monologue or scene. Students will also receive the criteria for their culminating project and start work on their outlines.
6: Conflict
In this lesson, students will work on a conflict profile and apply the details to a monologue. Student will also begin writing their first draft.
7: What is Theatricality?
Students will answer the question “What is theatricality?” in terms of what makes a play stageable. Students will apply this concept to a stageability exercise.
8: How Do You Give Feedback?
The first draft is due in this class. The class will begin with a feedback exercise. Then students will read their draft aloud and receive feedback.
9: Writing and Post-First Draft Questions
Students are given time to work on their second draft. Students also receive a Post-First Draft Questions sheet to apply critical thinking skills to their draft.
10: Writing and In-Depth Character Profile
Students are given time to work on their second draft. They will read an excerpt of their play aloud and receive feedback. Students will also receive an In-depth Character Profile sheet to help them apply critical thinking skills to their draft.
11: Practice, Performance, Reflection
In these last two lessons, students will focus on the performance aspect of playwriting. It’s important to include performance in the unit because the ultimate goal of all plays is to be performed (rather than read). Students have the opportunity to rehearse in groups, present to the class, and then reflect on their experience with the unit.

Standards Addressed

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