Writing for the Stage: A Primer

WRITING FOR THEBeing a writer who also works in the theatre has offered me a unique perspective on both writing and creating theatre. Fundamentally, they aren’t that different: just variations on the transmission of narratives. However, the reason that so many genres exist is that certain stories belong as fiction, and others as movies, and some are made for the stage.

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Give Hamlet another chance!

Part of the reason that Shakespeare wrote such long explanatory soliloquies had to do with the fact that the most important members of his audience couldn’t see him. The Globe theatre was constructed in a sort of extreme horseshoe. The lowest-paying patrons, the Groundlings, stood in the circular center in front of the stage, whereas wealthier patrons sat in the three stories of boxes surrounding them. The most expensive boxes were above and next to the stage, meaning that the highest born audience members could be seen out and about, but also that they couldn’t see the actors’ faces and gestures. This was the Elizabethan equivalent of People magazine, displaying fashion and scandal of the upper classes to the lower classes.