working you into a lather

Runner

– 29 March 2015 –

Happy Sunday!

It has been said by others (and by me) that I provide a weekly “writing prompt.” As of today, I’m going to be true – or try to – to the title of this exercise: Working You Into A Lather.

So.

Today, write a full-length (minimum 90-minute) play.

Just kidding.

I mean, if you can, DO! But otherwise…

Have you ever noticed how some actors embrace obstacles and others just solve (or ignore) them? This makes me interested in using plays to encourage actors to be more curious, more rigorous. Do I honestly think that kind of effect is within the scope of my abilities? Heck no! But it might just be an exercise worth exploring.

Pick a character who intrigues you. Yours, someone else’s, a historical figure, you choose.

What does the character want? what stands in their way?

For the purposes of this exercise, the “want” is twofold: the character’s desire, and their moral lack. For example, a brilliantly talented yet unconsciously misogynistic actor can’t get work. He desires work, and he lacks compassion for women. Yes, I’ve just given you the base premise of Larry Gelbart’s and Murray Shisgal’s Tootsie, a terrific example of how to write a three-dimensional character (thanks for pointing that out, John Truby).

Write yourself a little story about your character, now, or a big one, get intimately familiar with both the desire and the lack. Notice, I didn’t recommend writing a scene, because A) there’s only one character, and B) that’s the multilayered and exceedingly tricky work of dialogue (or the even trickier work of monologue). This week, explore this one deceptively simple question.

Happy writing!

open door

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