5 Tips For Picking a GREAT One Act Play | Author: SmittenPlay

5 Tips for Choosing a Great One-Act Play:

  1. Is it a complete story?

    A good one-act play has a clear beginning, middle and end, and emotionally engages the audience with your main characters. This can be extremely challenging for a writer to achieve in a short space of time. Many writers will start off with a good beginning idea, or a good character, but are not able to make a complete or satisfying story out of it. The ending in particular has to have some kind of believable or satisfying pay-off for the audience.

  2. Simplicity of location

    Look for plays that don’t require too many different set locations and props. In a short play where you don't have a lot of time to communicate new information to the audience, the simpler ideas tend to work better. So steer clear of short plays with multiple locations, unless you feel the play really works well.

    In addition, set changes in a middle of a play can cause the play to lag, and ruin the reality of the performance for the audience, so opt for plays that occur across 1 or 2 locations, and require no set change during performance.

  3. Simplicity of set structure

    One-act plays tend to be performed in groups of 2 or more on same night, so avoid plays that require highly complex set pieces. You need to have something which can be put up and taken down again very quickly.

    The set must also be able to be stored in the wings of whatever facility you are performing in – does your theatre have the capacity to house each set, while the other play is in production?

    Talk with your set builder or art director - this is really their realm, and they will be able to give you an idea of feasibility.

  4. Will the audience enjoy it?

    We are often drawn to plays for personal reasons - the story resonates with us, or the play presents certain challenges we’d like to explore. However, putting on a play should be about one thing only: the audience. If you expect someone to pay you to come and see it, you have to deliver on that promise. Give them something that they believe will be worth paying for.

    Now the reason why someone might enjoy a play can vary – it can be topical, funny, moving, thrilling, thought-provoking or something that just makes someone feel good – that part is up to you. Always remember though: it is not a privilege for someone to see your play; it is a privilege that someone would pay to see it.

  5. Will it complement the other play?

    One of the difficulties with a one-act play season is that more than one play is making up the evening's entertainment, so you have to consider the multiple plays as a "whole performance".

    Consider selecting plays therefore with similar themes or intensity, or which complement each other in "some way".

    It is reasonably difficult to move from one emotional environment into another. Audiences would not find it easy, for example, to move from a "light comedy" to a "dark tragedy".  It's a little bit like playing someone a pop song, and then switching to a Russian symphony. While we might like both, it takes a while to “adjust”, and in a one-act play you don’t have a lot of time for that adjustment.

    This doesn't mean you can't run different genres - you just gotta consider the style and themes of the play, and think about what kind of emotional shift you're expecting from the audience, and whether that is reasonable.

    To help, include the genre of each play in your program. This will prepare the audience for how they are allowed to react.

    In addition, identify a common “theme” running through both your plays that audiences can latch on to - for example, love, family, comedy, theft, betrayal, etc.

    Final tip: if you do want to run a tragedy and a comedy together, run the tragedy first.

To find good one-act plays, visit www.1actplays.com

Good luck!

About the Author

Anna Stillaman
SmittenPlay Limited
New Zealand

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/theater-articles/5-tips-for-picking-a-great-one-act-play-1051621.html