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the last time  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Mon Apr 19th, 2010 10:05 am
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Darkja
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The Last Time


By Todd Ford


© 2010


At Rise: Harold and Katherine are in bed. Harold watches T.V. Katherine reads a woman’s magazine. She glances at the magazine, then at Harold, then back at the magazine. Finally frustrated she puts down the magazine.

 


 


Katherine


Harold…um…how long has it been?

 

Harold


How long has it been since what?

 

Katherine


Since the last time…we….um…you know.

 

Harold


No, I don’t know.

 

Katherine


Since we had sex Harold.

 

Harold (clicks the T.V. off sets down the remote)


I don’t know. Why?

 

Katherine


Well it says in my magazine “The average couple has sex two point five times a week”. Do we have sex two point five times a week Harold?

 

Harold


 Yes?

 

 

Katherine


I don’t think so Harold.

 

Harold


OK. We don’t.

 

Katherine (annoyed)


Then we have a problem.

 

Harold


Why?

 

Katherine


The magazine says “those who do not have sex two point five times a week have intimacy issues.”

 

Harold (annoyed)


How is it even possible to have sex point two point five times.  How can you have half a sex?

 

Katherine


You don’t finish one of the times.

 

Harold


Well I’ve got that one covered. Anyway I know we have sex more than two point five times a week what does that makes us?

 

Katherine


Nymphomaniacs. We don’t have that problem though. When was the last time we had sex?

 

Harold


Yesterday?

 

Katherine


Yesterday? Was that before or after you fell asleep during Lost?

 

Harold


Before.

 

Katherine


So it was when you were holed up in your “office” playing video games.

 

Harold


Before that.

 

 

Katherine


When you were putting Andrew to bed?

 

Harold (disgusted)


No! That’s sick. Fine we didn’t have sex last night.

 

 

Katherine


Well when did we have sex?

 

Harold


I tried to last night but someone was “tired”.

 

Katherine


It was three in the morning.

 

Harold


I was trying to be spontaneous. Romantic.

 

Katherine (irritated)


Grinding yourself against me and wiggling your eyebrows while making a clicking noise is not romantic.

 

Harold


I saw it on television.

 

Katherine


You were watching the nature channel.

 

Harold (angry)


Fine when was the last time YOU tried to have sex with ME.

 

 

Katherine


Last Saturday.

 

Harold


I worked at the restaurant last Saturday.

 

Katherine


And when you came home?

 

Harold


The power had gone out you had the whole place lit with candles.

 

Katherine


The power wasn’t out Harold.

 

Harold


Then what was with the candles? Oh…you were trying to get me to…you should’ve said something.

 

Katherine


I made your favorite dinner.

 

Harold


I thought you were being nice.

 

 

Katherine


I served it in lingerie.

 

Harold


Guys don’t notice…

 

Katherine


There were rose petals leading to the bedroom.

 

Harold


I’m sorry. It was one in the morning it had been a long shift.

 

Katherine


I was trying to be spontaneous romantic.

 

(Katherine rolls over her back to Harold)


 


 

Harold


Katherine don’t be like that.

 

(Katherine sits up looking at Harold)


 

Katherine


We have a serious problem Harold.

 

Harold


No we don’t.

 


Katherine


Don’t you find me attractive anymore?

 

Harold


Of course I do honey its not that I’ve just been busy.

 

Katherine


Too busy for me Harold. I see where that puts our relationship Harold.

 

Harold


I didn’t mean it like that Katherine.

 

Katherine


How did you mean it Harold?

 

Harold


I meant I wanted to take the time to make it…uhm…special.

 

Katherine


How Harold? Are you going to wake me up at three in the morning and grunt at me again?

 

Harold


No of course not.

 

Katherine


If you’re not willing to work on our problems Harold I don’t know how you expect to make this relationship work.

 

Harold


Now Katherine you’re just being emotional.

 

Katherine


What did you say?

 

Harold


I said you’re being emotional?

 

Katherine


Yes Harold I am being emotional. Pardon me for caring about our marriage. Pardon me for wanting a normal sex life. Pardon me for being upset that you think I’m an ugly cow.

 

Harold


Katherine?

 

Katherine


Yes, Harold?

 

Harold


Are you having you’re period?

 

Katherine (gasps shocked and hurt)


No I’m noting having P.M.S. I’m having D.M.S.

 

Harold


D.M.S.?

 

Katherine


Dumbass male syndrome.  (with building anger) How dare you? How dare you blame you lack of understanding on my body?

 


Harold


Well…I just thought…you were being so emotional and I know that when…

 

Katherine


No, Harold you don’t know no man does.

 

Harold


Well I think after living with you I have a general idea.

 

Katherine


No, Harold you don’t. The blood the cramping the pain it would kill you.

 

Harold


Now I don’t think it would kill me.

 

 

Katherine


You pass out when you cut your finger.

 

Harold


That was different I had been working and…

 

Katherine


It was a paper cut. You were writing.

 

Harold


OK so you think you have a problem let’s talk. I don’t find you unattractive. I find you to be a radiant vibrant women. Every day I wake up look at you and realize just how lucky I am.

 

Katherine (holding back tears touched)


Oh…Harold.

 

Harold


So..um..you want to?

 

Katherine


Nah, I have a headache.

 


(Katherine clicks the lamp off)

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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 05:17 pm
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muncy
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Mana: 
I think it reads a bit more like a sketch than a play, it is all leading up to the last line which was a little predicable. I'd like to know more about the characters, something that tells me how old they are for example. I thought they were elderly but then there is the line about putting Andrew to bed which confused me.

There are some nice lines but I think you need to work on the characters a bit and there needs to be some transformation. I hate the phrase but they need to 'go on a journey'.

The concept is fine - just needs a bit of work in my opinion.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 07:46 pm
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Darkja
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Mana: 
Yeah I was challenged to write a piece in 768 words because of this it did come across a bit sparse. I think when the event is over. I'll expand it.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 28th, 2010 11:28 am
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WildeThing
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Mana: 
Hello Darkja,

I have to agree with muncy.  It does read more like a sketch, and if you stop and think about it, a lot of times, that comes down to the root of the word itself "sketch."  The details about these two people are sketchy.  We know a couple of random details about their lives (they apparently have a kid), but minor facts such as these don't delve into who they are.

You find those gems of the characters when you focus on their idiosyncracies, and you do find those idiosyncratic moments sprinkled here and there in your piece.  For example, one part that really grabs the attention and makes you think, "These people give me a chuckle, I'd like to spend some more time with them," is this bit:

Katherine (irritated)


Grinding yourself against me and wiggling your eyebrows while making a clicking noise is not romantic.


Harold


I saw it on television.


Katherine


You were watching the nature channel.


 

More bits like this, little idiosyncracies, will help to flesh out your characters and take the piece beyond that same old, same old of "we don't have a sex life, what does this mean for our relationship."

Also, if you don't already do this with your writing, read your lines aloud; you'll be amazed at what you discover.  For example, I think you might be surprised at the number of times Katherine says, "Harold."  It's tempting to get carried away (after all, it is a fun name to say) but think about your characters.  Two people who really know each other rarely call each other by name repeatedly in conversation.  It's one of those little traps that, actually, a lot of beginning playwrights fall into.  I've been guilty of it before myself.

You have the bones here, now let us see the muscle and the flesh.  Looking forward to seeing any rewrites.

Best,

-Wilde

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 Posted: Wed Apr 28th, 2010 11:38 am
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Darkja
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Mana: 
Thanks for your guys help. As soon as I get through the first presentation I'm definitely re-writing and adding more details (for the first one I am limited to 768 words As for the name thing it was intentional. I've noticed the more irritated my wife gets with me the more often she uses my name rather than pet names or nothing at all.

T

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 Posted: Wed Apr 28th, 2010 11:44 am
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WildeThing
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Mana: 
Very good point with the names.  If the intention is to show how acidic they are toward one another, it could definitely work.

Oh, and let us know how the presentation goes.  It sounds like an interesting challenge to write a piece to that specific word limit.  Is it for a competition?

-Wilde

Last edited on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 11:50 am by WildeThing

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 Posted: Wed May 5th, 2010 06:23 pm
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Trevor John Norton
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Darkja,

Hi, I think I will have to agree with Muncy. The end was not a surprising/witty.

Possible ending:          Can we at least do the point five?

 I think that Harold pays attention to his wife too quickly. He should be a bit more distracted.

I don’t know about you but my wife always seems to pick the crucial moments in a TV program to engage in conversation/nagging, like when the lion is just about to pounce on its prey, or when the guy with the nun chucks is just about to go on stage on America’s got Talent!

Further along, if Harold is trying to please his wife by saying yesterday? Is he trying to change the subject so that he can carry on watching TV? So he can go to sleep? His statement “Yesterday” seemed to be a bit abrupt/out of the blue, or did he say it off handedly?

Katherine
What did you say?


Harold (realising his mistake)
Nothing


Katherine
Yes Harold I am being emotional. Pardon me for caring about our marriage. Pardon me for wanting a normal sex life. Pardon me for being upset that you think I’m an ugly cow.


--------------“----------------


Katherine
No, Harold you don’t. The blood the cramping the pain it would kill you. 


Harold (False bravado)
Huh, now you are being ridiculous.


Has this helped?

Trev N

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 Posted: Wed May 5th, 2010 08:41 pm
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Darkja
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Mana: 
although I appreciate the suggestions. (I agree with you the end is a bit mundane) I would appreciate it more if they were suggestions without actually re-working lines of dialogue. I also do want to point out that the ending was not necessarily meant to be a surprise, or witty but rather identifiable.

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 Posted: Wed May 5th, 2010 09:16 pm
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JustGoWithIt
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Mana: 
While I agree with some of the previous points, I will admit you DEFINITELY have potential with this piece in the state it's already in.

Harold's ignorance and representation of the common "dumb, lazy father" stereotype tends to drive his character here as well as in the rest of the scene, while also providing the majority of the laughs. A good example of this is:

Katherine
And when you came home?

Harold
The power had gone out you had the whole place lit with candles.

Katherine
The power wasn’t out Harold.

Harold
Then what was with the candles? Oh…you were trying to get me to…you should’ve said something.

Katherine
I made your favorite dinner.

Harold
I thought you were being nice.

Katherine
I served it in lingerie.

Harold
Guys don’t notice…

Katherine
There were rose petals leading to the bedroom.

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 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 07:27 am
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Darkja
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Mana: 
Oh there are definitley going to be some changes. Its original inception was for something called "Just Do It" we have in Charlotte. Playwrights write on a theme and are given restrictions. In this case the theme was "The Last Time" and the restriction was 768 words. The word thing really has a tendency to make plays more like a sketch than a formal piece. It limits time for character developing and to get the point across. The reason I am so vehmently arguing for the ending is that, even though its predictable, its real. Sometimes we spend so much time arguing a point that by the time we get to a "winner" it simply doesn't matter any more.

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 Posted: Fri May 7th, 2010 12:35 pm
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Paddy
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Mana: 
Darkja.

So many different responses - must be confusing.

I liked. In this form, I think it works. I agree with whomever said he becomes attentive quite easily, which doesn't quite mesh with his character.

I felt the part where she was listing the things she'd done to seduce him, were a bit strained, listing them, his response, etc.

If she's going to get really pissed off, it'll be when he makes the PMS comment. Believe me.

If you do another stab at this, I would suggest reading it aloud. I think the reason people thought it was an older couple, was because the dialogue is a bit formal...you know.

Please, people, don't rewrite playwright's plays for them...reread the 1st post in this topic, if you aren't sure.

Paddy

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 08:15 am
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Darkja
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Well "The Last Time" premiered at "Just Do It" in Charlotte to a rousing reception. After watching it myself and finnaly being freed of the 768 requirement I can see a few places to flesh it out. Tell me what you think. A) I agree with most of you there can be more of a banter to get his attention B) At the end I noticed he said "OK I can see you think you have a problem" I think she would respond to that. 2) Lastly I think the part where they are trying to figure out exactly WHEN needs to be fleshed out. As for the ending which so many people said was predictable :-). It worked well. It was relatable and understandable and because of that people laughed. Also my actors had fun with the repeated name thing simply changing it in inflection each time it was used.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 03:35 pm
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Trevor John Norton
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Darkja,

 I am very happy that your play made people laugh! I think that as a writer/actor myself, there is no greater reward than hearing people laugh at your work!

I am a bit hesitant to write about your piece, as the last time I did so, I think it did not go down well! Believe you me, I had no intention of undermining you!
I am still new to this forum and just wanted to help.


Saying this, I would still like to help if you want it. (Sucker for punishment!)

Well here goes, when Katherine is trying t get Harold's attention, I think you could try the following:


Harold



How long has it been since what?




Katherine



Since the last time…we….um…you know played around?

 




Harold



We went to the park last Sunday.

 


Katherine



 No silly the last time we, had some alone time?

 



Harold



Time? Oh it's 10:30.


Katherine



Harold the last time we had sex!



Harold (clicks the T.V. off sets down the remote)


Does this help at all?


Trev N
 

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 04:41 pm
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Darkja
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Mana: 
While I appreciate the help. I think it would be more helpful saying you could expand here or I think they could tal about [insert topic here] It may seem grumpy on my part but I'm very protective of my work and I don't like it when people actually re-write the dialogue.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 04:49 pm
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Shanahan
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Mana: 
"I'm very protective of my work and I don't like it when people actually re-write the dialogue."

Good luck with that.


Welcome to theater.

Last edited on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 04:50 pm by Shanahan

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 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 06:47 pm
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Darkja
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Mana: 
actually I've been involved in theatre quite some time. I was trying to be kind but it is impolite to re-write people's plays. It also is listed in the very first topic as one of the things NOT to do. I also do want to point out that I had asked for it NOT to be done in an earlier post. "Welcome to the Theatre" is not an exscuse for us to do this. Criticisize yes. Suggest ideas but re-write sections no.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 02:49 pm
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WildeThing
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Mana: 
As someone who has spent quite a bit of time in writing workshops, I can say that you are absolutely right, Darkja.  Critiquing should never be rewriting.  Critiquing is a tool which helps the playwright fine-tune his or her own work.

Playwriting, as a discipline, of course, is mutable.  The final product will change over time as a result of rehearsals, workshops, readings, performances...but these changes are organic.  Sometimes changes happen as a result of suggestions or decisions made by directors or actors, but these changes are a result of actually handling a work as it is being put into production.  So, in that sense, if all goes well, it is more like growth than change.

Critiques are not the place for a rewriting of someone else's work; doing so takes ownership away from the writer when he is still forming it on the page.  It is heavy-handed, and to be honest, a bit patronizing.  Re-writing someone else's work (rather than giving an honest critique of what you think is or is not working in a piece) is essentially like saying, "I don't trust you to take the suggestions of others and develop something on your own that will work."

The onus should be on the writer to listen to critiques and then decide what he or she will (or will not) do with what has been said.  Even when I was teaching English and Research Writing to college freshman, I placed the burden on them to listen attentively to constructive criticism and then revise their papers based on their own decisions to use or not use what they had heard. (They were instructed NOT to rewrite portions of another's paper).  One might think a college freshman would see this as an opportunity to not revise their papers, simply saying, "Hmm, well, I was told that I could change or not change what I wanted.  So, I'm just not going to change anything."  However, this was not the case.  I found that my students were entirely willing to revise their papers; they respected that they had full responsibility for their own work and took that responsibility seriously.  More than willing, though, they were capable.  They were fully capable to take a suggestion and mold it into something that would work in their own way and in their own voice.

I tend to think that rewriting is half the fun of writing.  I'd hate to deprive someone of that opportunity by attempting to do it for them.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 03:09 pm
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Darkja
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Mana: 
Thank you. My frustration is that I was trying to say in a calm respectful way not to do that and someone not ivolved in the conversation felt the need to make a flippant remark. I agree with what was being said about the sugesstion. If you read the previous post I even indentified it as one of the places that need expansion. However my plays are written in my hand. I could not even feel right about using a section someone has re-written. At best its lazy at worse its you claiming someone elses work as your own.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 03:38 pm
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WildeThing
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Mana: 
I can understand your frustration, Darkja, and that is why I came to your defense.  It bothers me to see people disrespect someone's work in critique, and one form of disrespect (in my eyes) is rewriting someone else's work.  It's not productive.  People shut down when they feel that their right to develop their own work is taken away.

Although, I don't believe that the poster who rewrote your lines was being intentionally disrespectful, just not well-acquainted enough with what goes into an honest, constructive criticism of a piece of writing.  I do; however, think that simply saying, "welcome to theatre," is disrespectful to you and the critiquing process as a whole.

I wanted to make it clear that the spirit of playwriting, while it is very different from other forms of writing (more mutuable), that changeable spirit is no excuse to not practice proper critiquing etiquette.  I think you're fully capable of rewriting your own work; you have shown that you are willing to do so in stating that there are areas you want to expand based on suggestions, and I hope you'll let us see some of your rewriting when you've finished.

I was very happy to read that your work was so well-received by the audience and also very happy to read that the repition of the names worked well (I'm always happy to be proved wrong because it's a far more familiar feeling for me than being proved right.)  I'm glad that everyone involved had such fun with the piece.  Keep up the good work, and I hope we get the chance to see more of it.

-Wilde

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 Posted: Fri Jun 4th, 2010 01:55 pm
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Paddy
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Mana: 
In the spirit of creating a safe place for writers to post their work, work that is neither complete nor produced but in process, please, do not re-write other people's plays.

It doesn't help.

It also doesn't help to begin any sentence with, I would, You should.

Asking questions is always a better way to approach things. Give the playwright the opportunity to think it through themselves.

Paddy

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 Posted: Fri Jun 4th, 2010 08:08 pm
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Trevor John Norton
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STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have not re-written anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have just made a suggestion, you do not answer to me, you can do whatever you want!!! If you don't like my suggestion, don't use it!!!!!!!!!

But understand one thing, you asked for help and the only one who has given you a different idea is me!!!!!!!!!!!!

I joined this place to swap ideas, to help and be helped! To be criticized and to criticize!! What you people have been doing here is next to nothing!!! I feel disillusioned, and frankly rather upset!!!

I will no longer entertain the illusion that this place is what I have been looking for for years!! Even Edd is unhappy about what happens here(I apologise for using your name in vain Edd) but come on! WHAT exactly are we supposed to be doing here?

What upsets me most is that a NEWBIE, like me, is an idiot! Because I have not posted a million 'Posts' I am not worthy of any consideration!! Bad form people!!

That's it, I will not rant and rave anymore!

For the final time in this forum,

Trev N

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 Posted: Sat Jun 5th, 2010 12:39 am
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HarveyRabbit
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Mana: 
I do think that Trev N has a very valid point. If you are going to post your work here for critique, you should certainly be prepared for all kinds of responses and suggestions, regardless of whether you find them useful and helpful or not. There is absolutely no point at all in having a “Critique my play” area here if all that’s allowed is some kind of anodyne, milquetoast response to whatever anyone puts here.


This section of the forum is for critiquing. DON’T post your work here if all you are looking for is some kind of affirmation that what you wrote is good.  This should be for playwrights who are looking for help and advice because they aren’t entirely confident in what they’ve written, or have had negative reactions to it in the past, and are looking to get feedback that will steer them on the right course. If you already think your work is good, then don’t put it here. This isn’t a place for backslapping. Put it on “The Stage” section with a link to your website where people can enjoy the play that you are proud of. If you post it here, be prepared for all kinds of advice and criticism. Take what you will from that you find useful and ignore the rest. In other words, if you post your work here, leave your ego at home.


Anyone who takes the time and trouble to actually read and critique your work should be applauded. That is time taken from their lives that they will never get back – and they did it for you. If you didn’t like or agree with what they said, ignore and move on, but don’t whine. You asked, they told.


There is absolutely no point in having a place like this on the forum if people cannot feel comfortable in expressing what they feel. The more you “nanny” this and tell people what they should and shouldn’t do when it comes to critiquing, the less of it there will be, and the more irrelevant this place becomes. Don’t make this a padded room of mollycoddled, timid politeness. That’s not the real world. For heaven’s sake, if you can’t take a few unwelcome comments or suggestions here, how in earth could you survive a hammering by critics in the national press?


Anyone should feel free to say what they like about what anyone has posted here. There shouldn’t be all of these silly, and, quite frankly, petty rules for critiquing. The only rule that matters is that you should never be wantonly mean or nasty. Occasionally some have been, and I personally have got into a fight with such people, as I find it unacceptable. When you wrestle with a pig, you inevitably get mud on you - I haven’t enjoyed it, but I’ve always stood up for what is right and decent, while, frankly, others here have stood aside. But at the same time, I cannot abide this tip-toe approach to criticism. Again, if you put it here, take what works for you and ignore the rest. If all you want is flattery, read it to your mother.


“Safe” maybe Canada for some, and probably Switzerland for others, but we’re talking about theatre here, and that should always be anything but safe, or else it dies. Politeness in life is paramount, politeness in drama is death.

If someone wants to “re-write” someone’s dialogue to help them see what they were trying to say, let them do it! The writer doesn’t have to take it. Maybe it will spur them into thinking of something they hadn’t thought of until they saw it put that way. But my God, if you’re going to muzzle the very idea of critiquing, then why not just erase this section of the forum?

Trev N – I sincerely hope that you do not abandon this forum. From what I’ve seen, you are a very smart, enthusiastic, encouraging, and helpful team-player, and I think this forum is all the richer for your contributions. I know your post was an emotional reaction to what you perceive this place to be, but trust me, it’s so much more. Please be forbearing and stick with us. You’re needed here.

Lately, I’ve seen many people question/wonder as to why, when so very, very many people visit this site, how is it that so few actually participate and contribute. I think Trev N’s experience here should read as a classic example as to why that is.


Can we change that?


H.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 5th, 2010 10:13 am
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Paddy
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Mana: 
If someone rewrites a bit of your play, and it's brilliant, what do you do?

Do you keep it, always having that niggling feeling that that bit isn't really yours? Do you pay the person who 'critiqued' your play, a percentage of your royalties?

For me, it feels the same as if someone added a bit of azure to the otherwise grey skey in your painting. Should it be okay because they used your palet?

Safe first for the playwright. The playwright was obviously not feeling safe.

I do not, believe for a moment, any harm was intened, in fact quite the opposite. But as this is a playwright's forum, their needs should come first.

And for the record, any playwright's group I've belonged to, any staged reading I've been present at, would absolutely stop you in your tracks if you started to go down that road.

Some people are more sensitive than others. In this kind of 'blind' world, shouldn't we be more sensitive to that?

Paddy

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 Posted: Sat Jun 5th, 2010 01:07 pm
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HarveyRabbit
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Mana: 
Safe first for the playwright, yes, I absolutely agree. But safe from what? To me they should be safe here from abuse or derision. That is not to be tolerated. But we are talking about people who have gone out of their way to offer help. Whether the playwright agrees with those people, or chooses to ignore or adopt their suggestions is entirely up to them. Personally, I would never rewrite someone’s dialogue here, as I would find it most presumptuous. But if that is the best way someone else feels comfortable expressing their thoughts or suggestions, then so be it. It is help that is being generously offered, and consequently “safety” doesn’t come into it.


If someone writes something here as a suggestion to better what you’ve done (and you’re posting it here, so that’s in part what you’re looking for), you could simply adapt their suggestions to your own voice/style and it becomes yours. If I hear a piece of dialogue from someone on the street and I include it in a play, it becomes mine. We are magpies, all of us playwrights.


Or perhaps the dialogue they’ve written will spark a new idea in your head.


Look, if you neuter and constrict the ways in which someone can offer critique – to the point of even suggesting how they should begin their sentences – they will find themselves walking on tiptoe across eggshells, until finally they will just stop bothering.


Again, and I cannot stress this enough, people should not post work in this section if all they are looking for is praise and admiration. This is for critiquing. As long as a critique isn’t rude or abusive, it’s valid. It’s also kind and generous of the person to take the time and trouble to both read and comment on your work. I rarely have the time to do either.


To be perfectly frank here, if someone is so sensitive about their work that they cannot handle helpful advice unless it’s been airbrushed into a calming shade of beige then they’ll never make it in the real world of playwriting. It’s tough out there, and you need to be resilient. A few rejection letters and a negative review, and the more sensitive among us will find themselves curled in a ball, requesting parental succor.


H.

Last edited on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 01:09 pm by HarveyRabbit

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 Posted: Sun Jun 6th, 2010 11:01 am
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Doug B
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Mana: 
I think there is another problem offering specific dialog as part of a critique. 

As soon as the critique dialog is written, it becomes copyrighted.  If the playwright wanted to use it or even something very close, they open themselves to a claim of plagiarism.  For 99.99% of the plays, it isn't a big risk since the play will never be popular enough to make suing for plagiarism economically worthwhile. 

But what if the play becomes very popular and wins a Pulitzer or an Emmy?  There are many lawsuits over screenplays where there was no intent to plagiarize.

I think the playwright is best served if we offer areas where the dialog can be improved without actually writing the dialog.

Just my two cents.

Doug

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 Posted: Sun Jun 6th, 2010 12:58 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
When I see all the energy being posted about this, I can't help but think how much more helpful it would be if we put some of that energy into actually critiquing each other's plays!

On re-writing plays: any suggestion can be helpful. I edit and give suggestions on re-writes all the time in the poetry and play sections. No one raised a stink. In fact they have thanked me. I will continue to do so. I always make clear they are suggestions, and if they want to use them they can, and if they don't just toss them.

Doug may have a point, but I would actually check into that, as the DGA says any suggestions belong to the playwright at least during the rehearsal process. (Not that side agreements can not be made.) Doug, if you are a DGA member, would you write them and ask what their legal opinion is as far as Forum like this one? They are very good about getting back to members with questions. Let us know.

I would also suggest everyone read the article I posted about Plagiarism Charges in Chicago in the "Reviews and Critiques" thread.

best,

in media res

Last edited on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 01:04 pm by in media res

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 Posted: Sun Jun 6th, 2010 11:47 pm
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HarveyRabbit
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Mana: 
"When I see all the energy being posted about this, I can't help but think how much more helpful it would be if we put some of that energy into actually critiquing each other's plays!"

I couldn't agree more. But unless there is an environment here that allows people to feel free to critique in the way they feel best able to express their feelings, rather than being hamstrung by what they can or cannot do or say, you will see much less critiquing here.

Let's focus our immediate "energy" on making this place work as it should.

H.


 


 

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 Posted: Thu Jul 29th, 2010 03:39 pm
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Darkja
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Mana: 
Ahhh I've been gone for a while and see that I sparked a bit of a contreversey. As for being sensitive, irritated whatever consider me what ever you wish. My point was simply this. If you look in previous posts I had asked politely for it not to be done. I have received criticsms from plenty of other people including in media res without re-writing of dialogue. I appologize for alienating anyone.

 

Darkja

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 Posted: Sun Mar 4th, 2012 03:18 pm
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katoagogo
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Mana: 
This thread is quite an interesting piece of group-think drama, is it not? How did I mange to miss it back in the day?

On issues of critiquing - it takes practice to learn the difference between critique that is an expression of my reaction to the work, and prescriptive comments that are usually not as useful for the writer/artist.

I once heard a writer sitting on a playwrights panel at the O'Neill's NPC describe it this way, "Your questions about my play are useful; your answers about my play are not."

That is one that I have used as my guide for a few years now about how to form my response to new work.

--kato

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