Enter Stage Write
Those of you who follow me on Twitter, or who may know me from elsewhere probably already know that I am once again cast in a play. As the About Me section of this website indicates, and as I have mentioned more than once in my entries here, theatre is one of my passions, and one of the more frequent uses of my non-writing time.
Yet theatre and writing have a great deal in common, aside from the fact that a play is written by a writer.
For the conscientious actor, there is research. Understanding of story arcs. Creation of characters. Studying words and phrases. Dedication to doing something over and over again until you get it right. The great feeling of knowing the finished product has touched or moved people. Do these concepts sound familiar to you, writers?
The current play I find myself in is Richard III, by William Shakespeare. So the stakes are already somewhat higher. I have done Shakespeare before, but each time one performs his work there is a sense of connection to the paradigm shift in the very nature of writing that his work brought about within the English language. Indeed, when in a Shakespeare play, I am straddling the best of both of my worlds, in a sense.
But no matter the playwright, being in a show is about words. Those words aren’t always good, but considering why a script is terrible will lead to conclusions about writing.
The reverse is also true, however; good writing is theatre, and I don’t just mean scripts. Nor do I even refer to fiction only, as most of the best non-fiction is a form of theatre when you think about it. It has its opening, its introduction to the various players taking part in the story, selective revelation of facts in an order that is more intriguing to the reader, all in an effort to impart some kind of lesson, message, or instruction before the curtain comes down at the end of the article, and the reader is effected for the better in some way. (Hopefully.)
Theatre and writing. Peanut butter and jelly.
Not that I do theatre specifically to improve myself as a writer. I do it for its own rewards. Yet if I choose to pay attention, being in a play can contribute to my lifelong process of making myself a better writer.
I even write about theatre sometimes. Most often I do so on my other blog, called Always Off Book. I hope all of you who read TyUnglebower.com will visit Always Off Book on a regular basis as I write about my experiences in Richard III. It opens up a new window on me that many of you may not have much exposure to. If you stop in, leave me a comment and tell me what you think.
Can you think of any other activities that complement writing, and are complimented by writing in the manner I have described here with theatre? Share your thoughts.