Lajos Egri Power Point

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The How-to’s of Writing a Play Notes from Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing :

The How- to’s of Writing a Play Notes from Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing

The Building Blocks:

The Building Blocks Premise Character Conflict

Premise “Every planned invention must have a purpose, every planned sprint a destination.” Egri:

Premise “ Every planned invention must have a purpose, every planned sprint a destination.” Egri The purpose of the play The “so what?” of the play The take away

Slide 4:

PREMISE Is subject to interpretation Not always clear during writing process

Slide 5:

What’s It All About, Playwright?

Slide 6:

Finished play must have a premise : Clear cut Singular Implies a process/dramatic action

ROMEO AND JULIET:

ROMEO AND JULIET THEME Romantic Love PREMISE Romantic love transcends social barriers.

Slide 8:

The Premise is your True North Guiding your every choice: In building character In choice of environment And determining dramatic action

Slide 9:

Premise: One must never depend on the kindness of others for survival.

Slide 10:

CHARACTER “…then is the sum total of his physical make-up and the influences the environment exerts…” Egri Three Dimensional Character Structure Physical Psychological Social

Slide 11:

Strength of Will in Characterization “The dramatist needs not only characters who are willing to put a fight for their convictions. He (she ) needs characters who have the strength, stamina, to carry this fight to its logical conclusions.” Egri

Slide 12:

IAGO from OTHELLO

Slide 14:

And for strength of will in characterization the award goes to: George in “Sunday in the Park.” Tartuffe Lady Macbeth Stanley in Streetcar Sweeney Tod Iago Max Bialystock George in Virginia Woolf

Slide 15:

Ca tching the Character at the High Point of Their Mental Development

Slide 16:

Catching the Character at the High P oint of their Mental Development

Slide 17:

Choosing Characters for Orchestration “ Orchestration demands well-defined and uncompromising characters in opposition…” Egri

Slide 18:

Oppositional Elements Temperament World Views Tastes Cultural Affiliations

Good Orchestration:

Good Orchestration Protagonist Felix (Odd Couple) Stanley (Streetcar) Inspector Javert (Le Miz ) Krogstad (Doll’s House) Amanda -Glass Menagerie Antagonist Oscar Blanche Jean Valjean Nora Tom

Slide 20:

The fighters have been chosen! They are well matched in force of will! They are polar opposites!

Slide 21:

What keeps these oppositional people engaged in conflict UNITY OF OPPOSITES

Slide 22:

Unity of Opposites in Streetcar

Slide 23:

Conflict Jumping Static Rising

Jumping Conflict: a tale of two mothers:

Jumping Conflict: a tale of two mothers Mommie Dearest Ordinary People

Static Conflict a failure to get things moving:

Static Conflict a failure to get things moving Characters are too weak ignite and accelerate Characters are not changed by the action of the play. The playwright has not paid attention to character growth

RISING CONFLICT “… is the result of a clear-cut premise and well-orchestrated three dimensional characters, among whom unity is strongly established…”:

RISING CONFLICT “… is the result of a clear-cut premise and well-orchestrated three dimensional characters, among whom unity is strongly established…” Tips for creating rising conflict in your play! Make sure the premise is active Create three-dimensional characters in pursuit of strong objectives Pit them against polar opposites Allow conflict to simmer before it boils-foreshadow Use transitions to ensure you don’t jump

Crisis Climax and Resolution (World that life and playwriting would be so simple):

Crisis Climax and Resolution (World that life and playwriting would be so simple) CRISIS RESOLUTION CLIMAX

Cycles of Crisis Climax, Resolution :

Cycles of C risis Climax, Resolution

REVISION CHECKLIST:

REVISION CHECKLIST Is my premise clear and active? Are my characters strong and three dimensional? Are oppositional characters bound together with “unity of opposites”? Do I start the play as a central character is reaching the high point of their mental development? Is conflict rising and spiraling upward in escalating cycles of crisis, climax and resolution?

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