How To Write A One-Act Play In Two Acts! with K Edwards – 1 February 2017

On a mild, damp February night, a significant number of storytellers gathered at the Mercure hotel to listen and learn from playwright K Edwards.

Karen kicked off the evening by taking us through the basics: what is a play, layout and structure of a one-act play. She reminded us at the heart of every play and every story is the goal, motivation and conflict of the protagonist.

 “Roll up, roll up, pick a play, any play?” Karen asked before handing us our first exercise of the evening, to summarise our chosen play in terms of the protagonist’s goal, motivation and conflict.

 A One-Act play is by its definition, a short play. It focuses on one event of a character’s life. Less is more. The fewer characters the better. Karen divided us into small groups of two or three and gave everyone a character card. Each card had a little background information to a character and it was the job of the groups or individually to fill in the details. How, given their background and their fears, would these characters behave?

 Once we managed to do that, it was time to pick a setting, any setting, and throw our characters into our setting.

Halfway through, it was time for an intermission, a time to rest our wee brains from their creative tasks, a time for a drink and a biscuit, and time to chit-chat with our fellow writers.

 We needed to be corralled back into our seats for the beginning of Act Two. There was no exposition, only rising action as, in our groups, we tried to figure out the shenanigans that our characters would get up to if they were to ever meet. All the while trying to fit into a one-act structure of: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. Karen crept through the groups to hear our woven tales and to give her guidance. The final task was to simply write the scenes.

 The plots that groups had come up with were really interesting, one group started their One-Act play with their main character’s hands covered in blood thinking he had committed a murder.

 A thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening was had all round, as the gathering of storytellers broke for another week.

Nicola Prigg

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