Playwriting – There Is No Right Answer

by Danielle Gomes Rodrigues ’14

14_Gomes-Rodrigues_DanielleOn our first meeting I found out that Playwriting would not be my conventional class. It is held in a room with no desks, but couches instead, and there are only four students. On that first class, I learned about Aristotle and the 6 elements of drama. Didn’t know that the study of Playwriting dated that far back? Neither did I. We tried naming them all without Mr. Lamb’s help, but it was impossible. In the end we could finally list them all: action, character, idea, language, music and spectacle.

We read excerpts of plays and watch filmed plays besides writing our own. We learn to look at them with a critical eye without ruining its magic. We learn to identify techniques that other playwrights have used and how we can incorporate them in our own plays. We learn that it is not hard, but it takes a little thinking to get an audience’s attention. We learn how to tell a story through dialogue only. We learn how to write another world for the stage.

I was curious about actually writing my first play. I never planned on doing that, so I had no idea about what I would write about. Our first writing assignment was to write an action play, where we would focus on the first element of drama. My play included three women blaming each other for a mistake that the three of them committed. Once in class, I read the play to the other students and waited for my audience’s opinion on it. We praise and criticize each play we write.

My favorite part of this class is that we spend most of our time talking about what we wrote. Each student will give his insight to what the play was about, and Mr. Lamb will also give his. It’s fun to be the playwright, then the audience, and even the critical eye. We are all surprised when we use techniques we never learned or even identified; we just had it within us. Questions arise, such as why we liked it, why we paid attention to it, or why we didn’t. Sometimes, everyone has different reactions to the same piece, and none of them are wrong. As Mr. Lamb often says, “there is no right answer.” That is what makes this class special.

About Pomfret School

Founded in 1894, Pomfret is an independent co-educational college preparatory boarding and day school for 350 students in grades 9 through 12 and postgraduate, located on a scenic 500 acre campus in Northeastern Connecticut.
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