17. The Seed

Where does drama begin? At birth I suppose and it ends at death, at least our own personal drama will. I'm intrigued by origins, especially creative origins: both where and how things begin. I've previously said (see #13) life changing events make for good drama and they do. As an organic playwright, I need to understand, not only what makes good drama, but if I'm going to create dramatic stories, I need to know where and how they begin, so I can see them, discover them and craft them accordingly.

"Drama is conflict!" I’ve heard it thousands of times, mostly from academics. Yet I know from my own experience that drama is not conflict. Conflict is conflict. Conflict is easier to talk about, easier to teach and easier to direct. Conflict often comes from change, but conflict does not drive drama--change does. Much of the conflict in today's entertainment comes from outside a character. However, drama, real drama, universal drama comes from within a character. Even if a character's internal struggle intersects with something from outside, it is a character's internal struggle an audience connects with.

Drama is everywhere and can begin anywhere: forgetting to make a phone call or a seemingly harmless lie that causes havoc years later. The seed of drama is in the possibilities of change and how people or characters respond, or don't respond, to the challenges of that change. As a playwright, I can create characters who simply react or I can delve more deeply. I hopefully will create characters who are struggling, struggling to learn and grow, struggling to be more human, struggling to find a better connection to themselves, struggling to live their own personal drama, as we all do.

originally posted March 2013
reposted March 2018

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