A playwright is someone who writes plays. This can be for the stage, film, or television. They are the creative mind behind the work and are responsible for creating the characters, plot, and setting.
If you are interested in becoming a playwright or just want to learn more about how they work, here are questions you can ask them!
41 Questions to ask a playwright:
- What’s your favorite play?
- What made you want to become a playwright?
- How do you go about writing a play – do you start with the characters, the plot, the setting, or something else?
- How long does it usually take you to write a play?
- Do you work on one play at a time or do you work on several projects at once?
- Do you draft your pieces before you start writing, or do you just let the story “take control” and see where it goes?
- When you write, do you start with the beginning, middle, or end?
- Do you write every day or only when inspiration strikes?
- Do the people in your life know you are working on a play? Or do you keep it under wraps until it’s finished?
- Do you sometimes have writer’s block, and if so, how do you deal with it?
- Do you collaborate with others during the writing process (e.g., directors or actors), or do you prefer to write alone?
- How do you know when a play is finished?
- Are there any specific themes or topics that interest you and that you often explore in your work?
- Do your plays always have a happy ending or do they sometimes end on an ambiguous note?
- What was the best audience reaction you ever got to one of your plays? Or what was the worst audience reaction you ever received to one of your plays?
- How do you feel when one of your plays is performed?
- Do you ever get stage fright?
- What was the first play you wrote?
- What is the best thing about being a playwright?
- What is the worst thing about being a playwright?
- What was the most challenging play you ever wrote and why?
- Who are some of your favorite playwrights?
- Who are some of your influences?
- What is your favorite line from any of your plays?
- Do you have any funny behind-the-scenes stories from any of your productions?
- What did you learn from your first production?
- How has your writing changed or evolved?
- Do you have any upcoming projects we should be excited about?
- Where can people go to see your plays performed?
- Do you have any other plays that we might enjoy?
- Have any of your plays been adapted for film or television, and if so, what was that process like?
- Are there other art forms that inspire your work as a playwright? Music, painting, dance, etc.?
- What would be your dream project – is there something specific you have always wanted to write but have not had the chance to yet? Or is there something specific you’d like to write but do not think will ever be produced because of its controversial nature or too “out there“?
- Do you prefer writing comedies or dramas? Or does it depend on the story you want to tell?
- Do you think plays should be didactic or entertaining, or a mix of both?
- How do you feel about audience participation/interaction during a play?
- In your opinion, are there any taboo topics that should not be included in a play?
- How do you deal with criticism of your work?
- Do you consider yourself a writer or primarily a director (or both)?
- Who are some of your collaborators who have been instrumental in bringing your vision to life on stage?
- Do you have any advice for aspiring playwrights out there?
45 Questions to ask a playwright about their play:
- What inspired you to write this play?
- What kind of research did you do to write this play?
- What was your process for writing this play?
- How does the plot develop throughout the play?
- What is the climax of the play?
- How does the play end?
- How did you come up with the title of the play, and what does it represent?
- Are there autobiographical elements in the play?
- How did you come up with the characters and their background stories?
- What influenced your choice of setting and period?
- How does this setting contribute to the story?
- How does your play compare or contrast with other works in the same genre?
- How does the playwright use irony in the play?
- What is the dramatic structure of the play?
- Are there historical references in the play, and if so, how do they contribute to the story?
- Are there pop culture references in the play, and if so, how do they contribute to the story?
- What makes your play unique?
- What is the overall tone of the play? Is it more lighthearted or serious?
- How did you go about revising and editing the play?
- Are there subplots in the play, and if so, how do they relate to the main plot?
- What does this play say about humanity?
- What are some of the themes in this play?
- Is there a particular moment in the play that is especially powerful or memorable?
- How does the ending of the play reflect the themes of the play?
- What are your thoughts on staging the play?
- Did you have any specific actors or directors in mind when you wrote the play?
- How do you envision the set and costumes for the play?
- What kind of music do you think would be appropriate for the play?
- Are there any particular challenges you anticipate in staging this play?
- What does this play say about love?
- What does this play say about loss?
- What does this play say about family?
- How do the scenic elements contribute to this play?
- What contribution do the costumes make to this play?
- What contribution does the music make to this play?
- What was your favorite part of writing this play?
- What was your least favorite part of writing this play?
- What was the most challenging part of writing the play?
- How do the playwright use symbolism and other literary devices to convey themes and ideas?
- How does the playwright use dialogue to advance the plot and develop the characters?
- When can we see this play performed?
- What do you hope the audience will take away from this play?
- What other works of art (movies, books, etc.) were you thinking about when you wrote this play?
- How did your personal experiences influence this play?
- What are the universal truths that the playwright is trying to convey through the play?
Frequently Asked Questions
What skills does a playwright need?
A playwright needs good writing skills as they will be creating the dialogue and stage directions for their play. They also need to understand how a play works, what makes a good scene, and how to create tension and drama. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are also important, as the playwright will need to work with actors, directors, and other artists to bring their vision to life.
What makes a good playwright?
A good playwright is someone who can tell a story, evoke emotion, and entertain an audience. They must be able to create believable characters and develop them throughout the play. They must also be skilled in dialogue and stage direction.
What are the elements of playwriting?
The elements of playwriting are character, plot, setting, and dialogue. Characters are developed and their motivations are revealed through their dialogue. The plot progresses as the characters interact with each other in their setting.
How do you analyze a play script?
One way is to examine the plot or story of the play. This includes examining the characters and their motivations, as well as the setting and the events that take place there. Another way to analyze a play script is to focus on the language and how it is used to create moods and feelings. You can also analyze the structure of the play and how it contributes to the overall effect.
What makes a play successful?
A successful play is one that engages the audience and provides them with a unique theatrical experience. It should have interesting characters, a compelling plot, and be well-executed by the actors and crew. A great play can keep the audience thinking long after they leave the theater.
Being a playwright is a lot harder than it looks! It requires not only creativity and imagination but also discipline and perseverance.
If you’re thinking about becoming a playwright yourself, use these questions as a starting point to better understand what the job entails. And if you’re just curious about what goes on behind the scenes of your favorite plays, these questions will give you some insight, too!
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