Reading a play is a way to experience the raw, unedited work of a writer. It provides an opportunity to see how the writer’s mind works and what they are trying to say.
What is a Play ?
Definition 1: A play is a script written for performance, usually by actors on a stage. The word “play” can refer to the action of the drama itself, or it can refer to the whole work of literature that includes this action and dialogue.
Definition 2: A play is usually written in dialogue form, with each character speaking their lines. Plays are usually divided into five acts, although some have four or six acts. Each act is further divided into scenes that take place at different times and locations.
Definition 3: Plays are a form of literature that is written in a series of scenes. They usually involve dialogue between the characters and they can be comedic, dramatic or both.
The three most common types of plays are:
· Comedy– this type of play is humorous and it often has a happy ending.
· Tragedy– this type of play often has an unhappy ending and it can be about any subject matter.
· Drama– this type of play is about any subject matter and it does not have to end unhappily.
You as actors are the people who perform in plays by speaking the lines and performing the actions that their character says or does on stage and the director is the person who oversees all aspects of the theatre production from set
HOW TO READ A PLAY
Reading a play is not like reading a novel. It has different rules and conventions.
Its also a very intimate experience. The audience is invited into the world of the playwright and are asked to explore their thoughts, feelings, and dreams.
It’s important to remember that the playwright is telling you what the characters are thinking and feeling, not the actor on stage. The script may not be in chronological order and it might not have a lot of dialogue to go off of.
Reading a play is an opportunity for readers to explore new perspectives, understand different worlds, and learn about what it means to be human.
There are many ways to read a play,
The first thing you should do when reading a play is to identify the protagonist or main character of the story. This person will be referred to throughout the story as ‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘they’.
Read something about the play
- Get a feel for the key story line, characters and plot points before you start.
- Determine the play length.
- Consider writing a performance review or a critical analysis of the play, this will help you articulate the play.
Set aside enough time to read the play in one sitting.
- Most full-length plays run about two and a half hours.
- A one-act play will run from thirty minutes to an hour and a half.
- Since you will see the play in one sitting, try to read the play in the same context.
Read the play aloud
- Visualize how the play might appear on the stage.
- Read stage directions and character descriptions.
- After reading the play, spend some time thinking about what you read and why the playwright chose that particular time, place, and people to express the ideas of the play.
A play can be read in many different ways. Some people read them like they would a book, from beginning to end. Others might start with the last scene and then work their way back to the beginning. And some people might use it as inspiration for improvisation or theatrical performance of their own making.
Theatre performances have been around for centuries and have always been an important part of human culture. Check out some of the best plays of all time below.
How is reading a play different from reading a poem?
Reading a play is different from reading a poem because of the use of dialogue and stage directions.
Plays are usually broken up into smaller sections that need to be read in order, while poems are more like stand-alone pieces.
Plays give detail on what the characters are doing, while poems provide more mental imagery and thoughts.
Plays also typically have much more dialogue than poems.
Tips to Help You Read a Play Script
1. Read the stage directions carefully and try to imagine what they would look like in your mind.
2. Take note of the names of the characters and their relationships to each other.
3. Make sure that you know who is speaking before you read on so that it does not confuse you later on in the script.
4. Understand that there are two different types of dialogue: direct speech and indirect speech (or reported speech).
Direct speech is when someone speaks in quotes or said something out loud while indirect speech is when someone is telling another person about what happened or what was said by someone else (reported speech).
What do you need to read a play?
Plays are a form of theatrical performance that tells stories through dialogue and action.
These plays are usually performed on a stage by actors. It is important for the actors to understand the story and the characters.
The playwright sets the scene, background information about character and more, in dialogue for them to use as a tool to help them dig deep into their character so that they can better portray their role on stage
The end of the play is called the dénouement (or “untying”). This can be as short as one line or it can be many pages long.
Actors should dive not only into recent plays but also plays by Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov, the forefathers of modern drama.
Its best to have your own opinion on what you liked & disliked about a play.
Look up unfamiliar words and research the play if there are things you didn’t understand.
Reading 10 plays a week is useless if you’re just skimming through them. If you’re a slow reader, or you struggle with reading, aim to read one play a week.
Leave a comment with your opinion or any questions you may have below…