Friday, January 9, 2009

diet for a play

This is the time of the year for diets. God. It's driving me mad too. All these pills, food bars, promises of losing weight with gum (all with the disclaimer of--with appropriate diet and exercise written in the tiniest print you could ever find on the screen)--it's enough to drive a slightly pudgy playwright mad. Don't get me started on the exercise tapes and equipment and food plans you can get through the mail. Blarg!

Anyway, this is not about me being overweight. This is about my play needing a diet.

I just finished the seventh draft of 'A Death in the Family'. It's around 100 pages long right now. As I was just working on my last two correction notes for this draft, I was realizing, as I was writing it out, that all that I just did needs to be cut. There's a lot of repetition, a lot of unfocused writing, a lot of running around in the same circle. It's time to cut the fat.

So what is the proper diet for a play?

Good question. Not really sure. I think it varies from playwright to playwright. First, I'm going to let the play sit around doing nothing for a while--ideally a month. Then I will print it back out, read it, and write down comments and look for where the fat needs to be cut. I might actually give it to someone else to read for help. Then I will take my pen and cut things out. There's several things I really love that I might need to cut--time to kill my babies again I guess.

It seems appropriate that I'm talking about killing my babies. That's what led me to this blog anyway.

So what does a playwright do when one of her plays is off dieting? She works on another play. Another draft.

God, I love rewriting. Seriously.

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