Reading Plays for School

Back in elementary school and high school (primary and secondary), whenever we would read a play, we would read it aloud and act it out.

Last semester, when I started university, we read two plays, which our professor had playing on the screen for us. We would read along. Sometimes he would read each passage two us. The entire time we read the plays together. He said, “Plays are meant to be heard and seen, not just read.” He told us of the importance of acting out the play and explained that it was the only way one could be impacted by the play.

Even this semester, our professors tell us that the best way to understand a play is to read it aloud. They say that it is easier to hear the characters voice that way…however in our lectures and seminars we rarely read anything aloud. Why? Because everyone thinks that we students do not want to.

Yes there are people who loathe the idea of reading aloud in front of the class…especially if they have to act. However there are people who do enjoy it. So why not have those people perform a scene then have the rest of the students discuss it? It’s a win, win for everybody. We would all benefit, as the actors would be in character, therefore understanding the play that way and the audience would get an understanding of the play by watching it.

It’s so odd not actually reading anything aloud to one another or acting things out. My first year is practically over and though I’ve enjoyed all of my classes, I feel as though we should either have some sort of way to properly approach plays, or not even bother studying them. I mean, what’s the point of simply opening up a play and reading the dialogue? I’m almost positive that a lot of people pop it open and only read the dialogue. They don’t really care about the stage directions. Why do they matter if they’re not acting it out? It’s just extra reading to do, and when you’ve got 4 other books to read on top of that the play seems pointless.

If the play is interactive (as it was meant to be), then people take more interest in it and maybe I’m just being bias here but I think they enjoy it more.

You should not and cannot simply read the lines of a play. It has to be approached the way it was meant to be performed. If it isn’t done that way then there’s absolutely no point in reading it at all. It is impossible for people to completely understand a play by just skimming the dialogue.

Well, that’s my little rant for the day but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this? Feel free to answer one or all of those questions in your comments.

Do you agree or disagree? Are plays just a pain in the but to study period (whether performed or simply read)? What was your favourite play to study in school?

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Using Multiple First Person P.O.V’s

Books that have more than one first person P.O.V (point of view) are a bit uncommon, especially when it comes to Young Adult fiction genres. The reasoning for this is because a lot of authors find it difficult to write for more than one leading character using a first person narrator. If you have ever thought of writing a book that uses more than one first person P.O.V here are some tips that might help you to get started.

            BONUS: writing exercise at the bottom.

  1. Don’t use too many characters to tell the story:  Too many characters are too hard to follow, not only for the reader but for the writer. Sometimes it can make the story more complicated than it needs to be. The highest amount of characters when writing in first person P.O.V should be four. Going over four characters can make the reader either lose interest or make the story challenging to understand.
  2. Make sure each character has purpose: To do this try asking yourself questions like: what makes this character important? Are they helping the flow of the story?
  3. Don’t change characters within a chapter: This is something that really bothered me when I was younger…actually it still bugs me today. Changing characters within a chapter is extremely irritating for readers. This is because they aren’t able to automatically indicate which character is speaking. This causes a lot of confusion for the reader, and sometimes will cause them to lose interest in the story itself.
  4. Each character should have a distinct voice: To help tell characters apart in each chapter, give them their own specific characteristics, especially in their speech. Make sure that they appear different to the reader.

 

Writing Exercise: Everyone reacts differently, even in the same situation. For this exercise we will be using two characters: a young girl (friend or sister), and a middle aged man (father or teacher). The story should be at least two pages long (typed 2 pages, written one page front and back). Here is the situation: A seven year old boy, named Julian, is hospitalized after being hit by a car on his way home from school.

After you are done writing the reaction for both characters look and see that your stories have the following:

  1. The two character have a distinctly different voice.
  2. The characters reactions are different.
  3. The characters personality suits their age.
  4. The language used in the text fit the age of the character.
  5. The story is an appropriate length.
  6. There is an atmosphere and tone.

If you would like to share your pieces (one or both), feel free to leave a link in the comment section below. Also, don’t be afraid to share your own tips on writing for multiple first person P.O.V’s.

I hope that this blog was helpful, and got you doing a little bit of writing. Before I conclude, I’ve got a question for you. Which point of you do you prefer to write in: First person, second person, or third person? Why?

 

Till next time,

 

Orion.