Probably the most important thing you can remember when writing a play and when bringing that play to production is that it is a process. Until your play opens on Broadway, it is never really fully baked. There are always more levels to explore, more pages to cut, and more workshopping to do.
I recently directed an amazing little play called The Bigot by Eva and Gabi Mor. When we started together we went through the script and cut and changed things. It was a long process but an important part of Play Development. When we started rehearsal, again we changed lines and scenes as we worked with the actors. As the actors embodied the characters, I could easily see where we could continue to cut and make the play more concise and focused. It was an incredibly sometime challenging but productive process.
In performance the play grew even more. There is something about when an audience watches a play that tangibly changes a play - most of the time for the better. As I watched the play, which just about sold out for 4 performances, I could see new places where we could cut. As I watched each night from the booth, I actually calibrated the audiences focus and response, and I could clearly see what was concise and what was a bit cloudy.
This is the way to “grow” a play. I have said this so many times but it is true. Workshop it, do a small production or just get some actor friends to fully act it in your living room.
In a nutshell in my experience this is the process more or less to develop your play:
1. Start with a compelling story idea.
2. Research if necessary.
3. Write the first draft.
4. Edit and rewrite creating your second draft.
5. Workshop and bring your play to life in whatever form you feel will work for you.
6. Rewrite, cut, add to, and restructure if necessary.
7. Bring an audience in.
Repeat step 6.
Yes, it is a lot of work but even if you are not a director, there are ways to do it.(Check out Manhattan Rep’s play production program on this site.) And if you really want to create amazing work you need to do this! Simply writing in the confines of your computer will never bring your play to the next level. A play is alive. To develop something which is live, you need to bring it to life. If not, it is just an intellectual experience. Bore me! Yuk! Ugh! BLAH!
So I invite you to go the distance,dive into the play production process, fully develop your play and bring it to the next level!