Playwriting Lesson: Basics Of Playwriting

Unit Title: Playwriting
Lesson: Basics of Playwriting
Grade Level: 6th-12th Grade

Overview: In this lesson, students will identify the following elements of a play (CHARACTER, STAGE DIRECTIONS, DIALOGUE) and the basics of formatting a script.

Reference Material:
Basics of Playwriting Slide Show
Download this Lesson

Lesson Steps:
Students could begin by viewing the Basics of Playwriting Google Slide Show.
Students could use the “Opening Lines: Two Character Dialogue” prompts to write a short two-person dialogue and utilize proper formatting within the dialogue. These may be uploaded to a shared drive or used in class to promote discussion of character tone and voice.
In the past, I have encouraged my students not to use “Labels” for their characters with this exercise- no names or relationship identifiers like “Mom” or “sister,” etc. When we listen to the dialogue read aloud, we can discuss what we think the relationship between the characters might be and how we can tell. It’s helpful for the playwright to understand how to shape a character’s voice and tone to reflect a relationship without having to directly state the relationship outright.

-This lesson can be a stand-alone exercise about terminology related to playwriting or it can be the first in a series that culminates in student-created work.

Created for Essential Theatre: Lesson Plans & Resources for Educators by Emily McClain © 2020