At the moment, I’m doing edits on a new short play.
Well, not literally at this moment. At this moment, I’m writing a blog post about doing edits on a new play.
Well, that’s not really true either, of course. Whenever you’re reading this post, it’s already been written. When you actually read this, I may, in fact, being doing edits on that same play or a different one. Or, more likely, I’ll be watching Doctor Who. Or enjoying some ice cream. Or peering at you ominously from behind the curtains.
Or am I?
Anyway, what was I talking about?
Oh, right. Playwriting!
A local theatre I work with sometimes is hosting a play reading event soon (more about that in another post. Watch this space), and my short play “Calling Home” is expected to be in the lineup. At a recent rehearsal, certain continuity errors were pointed out. Things like my character talking about broccoli, then peas, then broccoli again. Should have been broccoli all three times. Whoops.
As many times as I had drafted the script, I didn’t notice that discontinuity. That’s one of the unique aspects of the playwriting format. Prose tends to live in a writer’s head; the words perhaps mumbled softly to herself as she writes, but otherwise unheard as they’re produced. A play script, in contrast, is a living, vibrant, vocal thing. It largely only exists when the actor speaks the words. And it’s then that errors reveal themselves.
There’s a reason writing guides tell you to read your stuff out loud as you write. You should try it. I don’t do it nearly enough, myself. Hence, broccoli – peas – broccoli.
Learn from the broccoli, friends. Learn. From. The. Broccoli.