Presenting a play script for the theatre is vital to students hoping to sell their stage plays to agents and theatre venues when embarking upon a career in playwriting. Well-conceived characters, a tight plot and great subtext could all count for nothing if the stage play does not look professional. A drama lesson on how to present a stage play correctly is therefore vital to students who wish to pursue drama writing.
Lesson on How to Format a Stage Play
A series of slides and handouts will help students on a playwriting course to take in the information during the lesson, but presenting the information simply will help those who are new to stage writing. The following information upon the resource concerned should inform students on how the stage play should look.
The Title Page of a Stage Play
The first page of the play should display the title in capitals, centered and within quotation marks. The following preliminary pages should also show the title in capitals and within speech marks but at the top of each page.
- The name of the author or screenplay adaptor should appear just below the title
- The lower right corner of the page should show the contact details, including email and phone number or contact address
- Copyright information, if registered, should be on display on the lower left corner.
Preliminary Information on the Stage Play
The initial pages of a stage play should inform on the following:
A list of the characters in capitals and in order of importance should be listed on the next page, with a brief description of each, similarly tabbed. It may help to include the number of actors required within the play, including ages and sex.
The play should be divided into acts and subdivided again into scenes. It is a good idea to ensure students understand the difference between an act and a scene. A question and answer session will highlight confusion, but the following will help clarify:
An act describes the main phase of the play, which may be expressed as the beginning, middle and end of the play, or in other words, the setup, the main conflict and the conclusion.
A drama scene is a self-contained event within an act that occurs within a specified time frame or place, or involving specific characters. It could be a conversation between characters or an action sequence.
It may help to list the acts and scenes as a contents page. The following page therefore should contain a thoughtful description of the setting and time frame that occurs within each act. This will help the theatre production provide the right backdrops for the scenes. Both the words “setting” and “time “should be capitalized, and followed by a short description of each.
Guide for Student Playwrights on Formatting a Play
The main body of the stage play should begin on page 1 and numbered accordingly on the foot of each page. Again, the title of the play should be displayed at the top of the page, within speech marks and capitals, but not on any of the other pages of the play.
The first page of the play should begin with Act 1, Scene 1 in capitals and both on separate lines. Act numbers are expressed as Roman numerals; scene numbers as Arabic numerals. The following pointers will help students with formatting the scenes within their stage plays:
- The opening paragraph of the first scene should be indented to around the middle of the page and subsequent paragraphs should be formatted as normal.
- Action sequences and other descriptions should be enclosed within brackets. This is important as otherwise thing will look slightly confusing to others.
- Only describe what is seen and heard on stage, never stray into what the characters might be thinking or provide irrelevant background detail
How to Write Dialogue for Stage Plays
A character cue should be expressed in capitals slightly to the right of centre of the page, and the dialogue should be typed beneath in upper and lower case. No speech marks are needed. The following formatting should also be followed:
If the dialogue continues onto another page or is broken by a short action sequence which should be in brackets, begin a fresh character cue with the words “continued” in brackets afterwards.
An indication of how the dialogue should be spoken, whether loudly, to another character, or with a pause, should be expressed in brackets on a separate line to the dialogue.
Drama Scenes and Acts when Writing Stage Plays
Formatting acts and scenes is important when playwriting. It is to take note that the following formatting rules apply:
- The end of each scene or act should be signified by a capitalized “end of scene” or “end of act” on a new line and centered
- A new scene or act should begin on a fresh page. It looks decent and less confusing to everyone.
- The first paragraph of a new act should be indented in the same fashion as act one.
- The end of the play may be expressed on a fresh line, centered and in capitals. The words, “blackout,” or “curtain” within brackets may be used. These are just a couple of examples. People follow a plethora of similar rules.
All pages must be fastened securely with a paperclip or within a ring binder. Keeping pages neat and clean is vital to presentation as we usually notice in sports or gaming websites like casino-online-canada.ca.
What a Stage Play Looks Like
Exemplars of real stage plays will help students make sense of the information presented to them. Distilling the essential components of a stage play will help make the information stick. Providing handouts containing simplified information on how to format a stage play will prove invaluable and will help students with presenting their stage plays to agents and venues if they are serious about becoming a playwright.
Thus all said here. The rest is a bit of common sense to use.