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									                     Independent Study: SHORT PLAY

A short play is evaluated for the preface, form and structure [introduction and
conclusion], content [originality, creativity, plot, characterization, setting, and
atmosphere], and production [audiocassette: sound effects, background music, and
narration; videotape: costumes, set design, background music, and visual effects].


1.       Use Worksheet #1-SP to select and develop a conflict.

         Note: A short play is based on one of the four types of conflict: individual vs
         individual, individual vs himself/herself, individual vs the environment, or
         individual vs the supernatural [including fate].

2.       Use Worksheet #1-SP to develop the basic plot outline, based on your chosen
         conflict. Decide how the conflict will be resolved; then create the steps
         necessary to start, develop, and resolve the conflict.

         Note: Do not introduce sub-plots. The length of the assignment does not
         permit the development of more than one plot or the use of more than two or
         three characters.

3.       Use Worksheet #2-SP to identify the main characters, usually two or three.
         Indicate the ways in which the characters relate to one another.

4.       Use Worksheet #2-SP to determine the introduction of the characters and the

5.       Use Worksheet #3-SP to select the setting, both time and place, and the

6.       Use Worksheet #3-SP to determine the props, music, and scenery.

7.       Follow the outline to write the rough draft. Do not worry about sentence
         structure, paragraph structure, grammar, or spelling.

8.        In the first revision, concentrate on the content. The following questions should
          be used as a guide during this step:
        Do the events follow logically?
        Do the characters act in such a way that they are believable?
        Is the conflict resolved in a satisfactory manner?
        Is the setting appropriate for the plot?
        Are all the loose ends tied up?

9.       In the second revision, concentration on the improvement of staging directions,
         description of costumes and plots, and designation of music.
10.     Try to improve your choice of words. Be as precise as possible. Replace
        common, over-used words and phrases. A thesaurus, print or non-print, is
        particularly useful. Remember to verify the meaning of the replacement word
        with a dictionary.

11.     Use Worksheet #4-SP to plan the preface: research and final product.

Example of a Preface                              Characterization

         Characterization in a short play requires that the playwright use costumes, props, action,
soliloquy, and dialogue [between the character and other characters, or about the character]. The
playwright, unless he/she uses the tools of a narrator or a prologue or a chorus, cannot describe
the personality of the characters in the play. The playwright, unlike the author of a short story or
novel, has to show not tell the audience.

        Costumes and props visually inform the audience of the personality traits of a character.
In westerns, the playwright gives the hero a white hat and horse, and the villain a black hat and
horse. The audience has learned to associate all the characteristics of a hero with white, and
those of the villain with black, since the time of Hopalong Cassidy. The playwright, therefore,
does not have to demonstrate these characteristics through dialogue or action.

         Action also develops characterization. The playwright writes stage directions or
describes staging to tell the actors what to do during the play. Simple placement on the stage can
indicate the importance of a character. The hero is often placed centre stage and slightly behind
the other actors so that the villain and the minor characters have to turn slightly away from the
audience to speak to the hero. In a fight sequence, the hero usually fights with honour and wins.
Thus, characterization can be indicated through action.

        In a soliloquy, the character is permitted to reveal his/her thoughts to the audience.
Sometimes, this is also done through an aside. In a soliloquy, the character is alone on stage; in
an aside the character is not.

         Dialogue, the basis of a play, can reveal character quite easily. The hero usually treats
the other characters with respect, and shows intelligence and other desirable characteristics, such
as tolerance and education. For example, he/she speaks kindly to an older, hard-of-hearing
person. He/she does not speak loudly or pronounce words in an exaggerated fashion.
Characterization can also be developed through dialogue not involving the specific character. The
playwright has two other characters discuss the personality or actions of a third character. For
example, two characters might describe the evil deed of the villain. The audience then uses this
knowledge in judging the personality of the villain. Thus, the playwright has two ways of using
dialogue to develop characterization.

        To be successful, the playwright must be able to create interesting characters which
appeal to the audience. The audience, in turn, must be able to detect the characterization easily.
Costumes, props, actin, soliloquy, and dialogue are used to accomplish this.
                    SHORT PLAY WORKSHEET #1-SP

Student: ____________________________


General:    Individual vs ________________________________

Specific:   _______________________ vs __________________________

Basis of the Conflict: _______________________________________________



Climax: _________________________________________________________


Introduction of the conflict: __________________________________________



Step 1: __________________________________________________________


Step 2: __________________________________________________________


Step 3: __________________________________________________________


Denouement: [falling action, typing up of loose ends] ______________________



Teacher's Approval: ____________
                        SHORT PLAY WORKSHEET #2-SP

Student: ______________________________


Protagonist [main character, hero/heroine]:

Name: __________________________

Main characteristics: _______________________________________________


Introduction: _____________________________________________________

Costume: _______________________________________________________

Antagonist [villain]:

Name: __________________________

Main Characteristics: ______________________________________________


Introduction: _____________________________________________________

Costume: _______________________________________________________

Supporting/Minor Character

Name: __________________________

Main Characteristic: _______________________________________________

Introduction: _____________________________________________________

Costume: _______________________________________________________

How the characters relate to one another: ____________________________


Teacher's Approval: ___________
                   SHORT PLAY WORKSHEET #3-SP

Student: _____________________________


Time: ___________________________________________________________

Place: __________________________________________________________


Atmosphere is that which creates an emotional aura which establishes the
reader's mood, expectations, and attitude.

Identification: _____________________________________________________

Development: ____________________________________________________



Music: __________________________________________________________


Scenery: ________________________________________________________



Props: __________________________________________________________



Teacher's Approval: _____________
                       SHORT PLAY WORKSHEET #4-SP

Student: _____________________________


Aspect to be researched: __________________________________________

Short play studied in class: _________________________________________

What do you know about the aspect?

What do you want to learn about the aspect?

Available resources:


Introduction: ___________________________________________________


                Point                             Example

Teacher's Approval: __________________

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