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Live actors and a live audience make for an immediacy no other art of the written word can duplicate.

The 5th Wave (2016) - Did You Shoot Me? Scene (8/10)

The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the dramatic "poet" that's us had the power and the duty to "teach and to please," and it's a tradition that lives on to this day. But how do you do it? Before your play can teach and please anyone, you have to write it, rewrite it probably over and over again , submit it to theaters and hope that one of them will want to produce it. It can be a long road, particularly because now more than ever, plays tend to get plenty of development i.

10 Minute & Short Plays

Good playwrights typically have patience and perseverance to spare. Ten-minute plays have become very popular in recent years with the advent of The Actors Theatre of Louisville contest. A good ten-minute play is not a sketch or an extended gag, but rather a complete, compact play, with a beginning, middle and end. It typically takes place in one scene and runs no more than ten pages.

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In fact, because many contests disqualify entries with more than ten pages, it's a good idea to adhere to that page limit religiously. One-acts can run anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour or more. While technically, the one-act gets its name from having only one act however long that might be , it's more commonly thought of as a play that isn't long enough to constitute a full evening.


Arguably the most popular length for one-acts is around a half-hour. At this length, a play can fit on a bill with a pair of other one-acts, and if your play is suitable for high school production, thirty minutes is a good length for a competition play. A good one-act focuses on one main action or problem; there's not time to get into complicated layers of plot.

Heart in the Ground, by Douglas Hill

And for practical reasons, it's a good idea to keep your play to one set and as few scenes as possible. Let's say that your one-act is on a bill with two other one-acts, a common scenario. Let's further say that your one-act has two distinct settings , requiring two different sets and a set change in the middle of an already short play. Not a good thing. Each of the other one-acts already has its own set requirements, so suddenly the theater is faced with building four different sets for one evening.

Anyway, when I got there, Timmy had this big blue paint streak down his face.

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Yeah in the movie with the Scottish movie with the blue face paint! Battling on the, uh, moors….

The Play's the Thing

I know I was just kidding. Okay, so, here we are with Mel Gibson with the paint on his face with the Broadsword.

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He was in Dirty Harry. Your brain seems to conveniently remember every movie but the one I need to know. With the blue streak of paint across his uh… Oh shit.