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Podcasts with America's seminal directors and choreographers

Enjoy rare insights into how theatre is made with this podcast interview series produced by Stage Directors and Choreographers Workshop Foundation (SDCF) and co-presented by TDF. Browse three decades of priceless one-on-one conversations and panel discussions with distinguished theatre and dance luminaries.

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Effective Playwriting

Date: Feb 27, 1986


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On February 27, 1986, SDCF held a conversation on Effective Playwriting with Directors Stephen Porter and Howard Rossen, moderated by Playwright Stephen Fife. The jumping off point of this conversation is Somerset Maugham's quote "The purpose of prose drama is to afford delight. I do not think it can usefully concern itself with the welfare of humanity or the saving of civilization. In my opinion, what the theatre does best is to give pleasure by telling a story, delineating character, and by stirring emotions or causing laughter." Our panelists go on to discuss various aspects of plays including sentence length, scene structure, the importance of rhythm, as well as producorial aspects such as the pull between star vehicle and commercial quality and the need to challenge an audience. They frame much of their discussion by looking at The Constant Wife, and share their thoughts on why plays and writers became classics: Glengarry Glen Ross, ‘Night, Mother, Pinter, Shaw, Williams, Shaffer, Simon, and Mamet. This conversation is a master class for playwrights and directors on the many elements of a play and how to consider and improve upon a play while in production.