The DRAMA of writing a PLAY

If you want to be a playwright and dramatist, The Drama Of Writing a Play takes you through the process of how to write a drama for the stage, from inspiration to developing characters and plotting, to exploring theme and dialogue, to writing the first draft and taking ownership of your creation.

Writing a play is the closest you will ever get to your audience and also gives you the unique opportunity of working with actors as the writer or director and exploring your story at its ultimate extreme.

The hands-on course is presented by Daniel Dercksen, inspired by his plays Yes, Masseur and The Beauty Of Incomplete Things. ‘Yes, Masseur’ was written, directed, and designed by Daniel E. Dercksen and performed at the Dock. Rd Theatre in Cape Town (1996), and ‘The Beauty of Incomplete Things’ was written, produced, directed, and designed by Daniel Dercksen, enjoying successful seasons at the Intimate Theatre in Cape Town (2013), and the Joburg Theatre (2014).

The 12 units of the course explore:

  • What it takes to be a dramatist
  • Creating drama that is not journalism
  • Knowing what to write and how to write
  • Becoming an emotional archaeologist – researching the idea
  • Using the right genre to showcase your story
  • Exploring the thematic purpose of the play
  • Creating, defining, and developing the characters
  • The Art of writing dialogue
  • Understanding structure and plotting the action of the play
  • Crafting a story and scene outline
  • The process of writing the first draft of the play.
  • Taking ownership of your play and turning words into action
  • How to adapt your play to another medium
  • Writing the first 10 pages which will be evaluated and critiqued

Dercksen will use his play The Beauty Of Incomplete Things as a template throughout the course, looking at:

  • The first spark of the idea that inspired the play and how it changed during the 15 years of writing, as well as the changes it underwent during rehearsals (influences by the actors) and performances (feedback from the audience)
  • The passion to craft endless re-writes through many reading sessions with professional actors and directors throughout South Africa
  • Auditioning, casting, and rehearsing with the actors to bring the characters to life and how this process influenced the dialogue and actions of the characters.
  • Shaping the world of the story: how Dercksen built his set of the play in his own space, staged the play in Cape Town, blending theatre and filmic techniques, and staging it in Johannesburg using traditional theatre methods.
  • Moving onto the stage and realizing the vision and action of the play.
  • Drama and Action, keeping the play alive during performances.
  • Curtain down: What happens after the final curtain?
  • Turning passion into action: How the play resulted in a screenplay as well as a fictional memoir.

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