So after you go through the big picture cuts using the questions we talked about last time:
What is the story you are telling?
What do you want the audience to do after they see your play?
the next thing you need to do is make some internal cuts.
Here are two more questions that will help you make those internal cuts:
Question # 1:
What are you saying again and again that you only need to say once?
Now go through you play with this in mind. How many times do you repeat yourself to try to make a point? How many times do you repeat yourself because you love to write poetic or dramatic dialogue? And how many times are you repeating yourself in your writing process that you are totally unaware of?
Whenever I give this exercise to one of my playwriting mentoring clients, the are astounded with how many internal cuts they can make just by cutting repetition. One playwright was able to cut 8 pages out of his 90 page manuscript just cutting repetition! Try this! You will be amazed!
Once the actors' inhabit your roles on stage, what are they embodying that you don't need to "explain" with dialogue?
Here's what I mean by this: Often playwrights feel they should tell the audience things like "what a relationship is like," or "how deep a love connection is," when the actors are already expressing it with their acting work.
"God, I love you so so so so much." can be conveyed by a good actor with a look, and a couple's relationship can shown by how they relate! There are so many things that can be conveyed by what the actors are doing! You don't have to tell an audience what is going on all the time. The actors can inhabit it.
So go through your script and see find the places you are TELLING THE AUDIENCE things that the actors should inhabit and see what you can cut.
Again, I have seen amazing cuts made like this and the play becomes more focused and succinct!
Try it out! You will be amazed.
So cutting your work can be challenging, but with a little discipline and determination you can cut your way to a better play!