Playwriting exercises

I’m trying to study for my Art & Design course and I need some help to understand this question.

We have explored conflict in drama, it is now time to get creative! Note you have two weeks to complete this assignment.

Please view the “Playwriting” videos on You Tube on the “National Theatre Discover” page (link below) Please spend 30-60 minutes viewing the various clips on the topic.…

List the videos you watched and bullet point what you learnt and found interesting about each one.

Playwriting Exercises

Exercises in writing scenes and a play develop the writer’s individual voice. This is accomplished by creating believable dialogue, three dimensional characters, and motivated action.

Part 1: Inspiration –


Find a place in which to listen to people conversing. This can be your home, a coffee shop, or a bus stop & etc. Do try to find a place where you can write unobserved. Do your best on this one – If there is not a lot of conversation in your house, you can also use a conversation that you have had recently with someone – Virtually or otherwise – You could even listen to some dialog from a reality TV show, some where unscripted dialog can be heard – something that may give you some inspiration for our writing section.

Listen to what the people say as they are talking to one another for five minutes. Did they use complete sentences or fragments of sentences? What was their meaning and intent? Was there emotion behind what was said? What would you guess is the relationship of the speakers? Did the speakers use gestures? Capture some of this conversation on paper.

(10 lines)


List 4 possible events propelling a main character into conflict.

Part 2: Writing –


Look at the following line from a Neil Simon play:

“ Somehow it doesn’t seem so bad now. I mean, I think I can live with this thing”.

You may begin or end your scene with this line, or use it in the middle.

Use one (or more) of the four problems you listed above and create a scene which has a conflict resolution structure as discussed in our Dramatic theory assignment.

“Introductory incident”

“Moment of Engagement”



The scene must be at least 10 lines long and include some of the overheard dialogue you noted down in the first part of this exercise.

Use at least 3 characters. (Describe them briefly)

Use stage directions if needed.


1. Pick one of the Diane Arbus photos provided.
2. Pick a character in the photo that you connect with emotionally and name the character.
3. Decide what the character needs.
3. Write in the voice of the character.

(Monologue – 10 lines.)

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