Kaycee’s Outline: The Play – WRITE THAT SCENE

Kaycee’s Outline: The Play

Do you have a particular subject in mind for the scene and
time/location?
– Its for my character’s Broadway debut in the musical Hamilton. Its going to take place at the Richard Rodgers Theater in mid/late February.

-The main characters are a girl who just graduated from NYU majoring in dance, minoring in musical theatre, named Danielle Wright and Daveed Diggs who played in Hamilton. During the Broadway debut, they are developing feelings for each other


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Note: It takes thirty rehearsals to do a musical or Shakespeare or other complicated work. If this scene is about the practice then the characters would need a read, technical rehearsal when all tech elements are added, and a performance without an audience except the directors and crew.

Part One

  1. What is happening before the play, before they start heading into the theater? What are the characters doing and how are they preparing for the debut?

»A. Describe the audience filling the massive building as the actor do exercises to calm their nerves. Focus on the mood of everyone around and the hope for a great play to happen. Not yet the two main characters. However, maybe included how they are subtly flirting, giving the eye, smiling. A hand brush against a shoulder (on accident) supposedly. Focus on every being that will enter that room so that way when you later describe how the audience and other performers watch the main characters, it will feel more connected. Maybe they overhear someone in the audience who has a negative tone about the play and they won’t to prove that person wrong. Perhaps, as the audience is walking in with smiles on their faces, how they are crowding the room quickly and eagerly.?

I. The actors may have a prayer or a sentimental speech backstage before they all perform. What is the character dreaming or imagining for the future, as well? Do they envision it going well and that they eventually become a big actor in movies? What are they hoping in these moments before their debut?

II. What are they remembering to do that they were taught in school? Is anyone giving them advice in this last minutes? Do they have someone who is intimidating them such as a reporter or a fellow actor? If so, how do they remain focus or at least try to?

III. Describe them getting their makeup, hair and wardrobe done. Show the conversation between the makeup artist, the stylist and hair dresser with your main actors. This will allow the reader to further connect with them and, not only see their personality to relate to, but you can possibly reveal information that can spark mystery in the story. For instance, the makeup artist knows that the male character has a crush on the female character so he/she drops hints about it.
 
 

»B. Go in detail about the activities the actors are doing in order to prepare for the show. What exercises do they do and are they helping one another with it? How are they training their vocals? Does anything happen while they do this that gives cause for concern? If so, does the other main character have a remedy for them? Maybe male character has a soar throat after eating something he shouldn’t have. But the female character has a homemade cough drop to help sooth his throat. Or maybe the female character had been dancing all night the night before and her feet hurt. The male character could rub/massage her feet before going on stage.

I. Are they also able to talk to any loved one or close friends, maybe even reporters before they step out on stage. What is said? Could be something as simple as “I always believed in you.” To something like a childhood friend doing a cute dance with them that they used to do all the time. The idea is to allow the reader to get as familiar with the main characters as possible. Especially seeing how they always wanted to become an actor on stage since childhood. This will give your character immediate likability because it shows how determined, reliably and family/friend oriented they are.

II. Possibly give the character a moment alone. Let them think to themselves in a private place, give themselves a uplifting speech in the bathroom mirror, or better yet, write to themselves in a journal. If they have fears a great symbolization is to write them down and tear them up. So if one of the main character has a slight fear of doing something in the play or even a large audience, then maybe they can write it down on paper, tear it up into pieces and throw it in the trash. Afterward take a deep breath to know they are prepared. This will make your character look confident, self-reassured and self aware to your reader. You don’t have to write that specifically. It could be many symbolic acts that help the character become a better version of themselves.
 
 

Part Two

    1. What dilemmas or errors are of concerned? Is everything expected to go down smoothly? Does every actor/actress like each other and can act professionally? What outside force do they have no control over and are worried about?

»A. Does the play director have everything he needs? Or does he come in backstage yelling, questioning about the props/actors/costumes and why they aren’t there? There are other factors that are within the control of the characters that can spiral out of control.

I. It’s not unlikely for there to be banter or frenemies between the actors. Something as minute as a spill on a wardrobe or broken heel can cause a spiral of chaos. The main concern is how does the character handle and fix these problems. Problems can either bring people together or tear them apart. In this case, since it’s a love story, it would bring them together… but it doesn’t have to happen right away. Maybe the two get into an argue about something before the play, then when they act on stage they are really upset at each other. But something happens throughout the play that makes them forgive each other and change their minds.

II. How long does it take to fix the problem? Who is responsible? Is the fix temporary or permanent? Will the fix hold up throughout the entire debut or will it only last a few hours. To what lengths does the character(s) have to change in order to fix the problem. Also, what realization do they have when the problem is fixed. Quick example could be the female character has a bad haircut and the hairdresser puts in extensions hoping it will hold in. But it doesn’t and during the second act one of the extensions fall on stage and the audience laughs. In order to maintain character the lady pretends not to notice or she makes a joke about it in her acting (kick it across the stage like it’s no big deal and then silent laugh in a cute way with a hand covering the mouth and her eyes looking away).

III. How are their body reacting? Any stomach aches, pains in feet or hands? Nervous breakdown? Forgetting some lines? This is internal conflict and can cause a lot of anticipation for the readers (which is a good thing). This type of dilemma is one of the most powerful tools in writing. Let’s say she/he wanted to to say something to someone before going on stage but don’t because they are too shy. And even though they can act in front of an audience, this person makes them so nervous they don’t know how to handle it. Some other internal conflict can be: second guessing their talent, self-doubt, wishing they could have practice more, jealousy of another actor and their part in the play, nerves, headaches, seeing problems that aren’t even there, negative thoughts about the play or their future.

 

»B. How about the obstacles that are out of their control? Such as weather, sickness, etc. How do they solve the problem in time…. if at all.

I. There could be a storm before, during or after the play. It could be a quick or long and intense storm outside. The weather doesn’t have too much affect on the inside unless it starts to cut off the electricity or flood the building. In this case, prepare for your story to take a creative turn. Again, conflict can either push characters away from each other or pull them together.

 
 
II. Other conflicts out of their control can be but are not limited to
-Fights or arguments in the audience
– Bad media coverage
– Mental and physical problems of others
– Choices of others
– Audience reactions
– Props or electricity not doing what it’s meant to do

Please keep in mind, just because it may be out of their control, doesn’t mean it’s not out of another characters control, especially if it’s the other character. One or the other can come in to save the day. OR they can work together to fix the problem. Because alone, they cannot control it but together they can.
 

Example: 

It wasn’t unusual to have the audience mocking me. But because this was not high school the situation didn’t make since. I looked at the multitudes of people who laughed and pointed as I proceeded to walk across the stage. Powerless was how I felt. Worthless. Pathetic.

Though Daveed shook his head to the people who loved him like a god. They became silent in an instant as he spoke, saying “This isn’t the place to tear down one another. She made a mistake and you need to calm down so we can continue the show for you all.” He then turned to look back at me, smile and offered his hand for me to return to him. To restart what was once a disaster. Without him, I’d be lost.

III. You can use a combination of something that is out of their control or something that is in their control and make it more intense. An example would be if the character had negative thoughts and those thoughts came true. Or if they did something that they thought would be a good idea but wasn’t. It becomes dangerous and now they need intervention from fellow actors. There is no limit to how many dilemmas you use. Make sure there is a solution in the end. And be aware that the solution does not have to come right away. It can happen after the scene is finished or after the story is completed.

 

Part Three

    1. During the play how does the audience react to the characters? Can the two remember their lines or do they become so caught up with each other they forget where they are? In other words, how are they falling for each other during the play?

»A. At this time add in some lines from the play or describe how they are saying them. Does it seem like they are not acting anymore and now it is reality for them? Can they not play their character the way it was meant to be because they are so focused on the other person. What about ad-lib and how do they cover up their mistakes..

I. Here is the time to insert the character’s thoughts about the other main character. How are their views changing, writing about it in real time, step by step how they are becoming consumed with the thought of being alone with the love interest. How their pupils dilate or their hands sweat. The beat of their heart is fast… not because they are in front of a large audience but because the person in front of them looks radiant. How they are meant to sing a love song or a heartfelt song to someone else on stage but they can’t help but keep looking to the side at their love interest. Remember, they can be professional and not show any signs whatsoever, but at the same time the story would be more entertaining if they have tendencies to do small mistakes or get nerves from something other than being on stage. It adds an odd factor and sparks questions in the reader’s mind.
 

»B. Show how the other cast members are noticing the two gaining feelings for each other. Maybe they begin to clear their throat if the male character forgets his lines because he was too busy looking at the female character. Maybe they ask the main characters what is going on in a discreet way so no one in the audience realizes it. Who else takes notice to this and do they do something about it? Does another cast member have feelings for the woman too and it becomes a love triangle?

I. Fellow actors can try to push or pull the two main characters together. And for various reasons. They can warn about the consequences of dating a coworker or flirt with the idea of the two love birds getting married or having their first kiss on stage. Possibly someone in charge can warn them if they get together one of them may be fired or transferred to a different play. Is there an immediate connection between the two and everyone sees it? Does this make people in the audience lean in to because they are captivated? Are the actors backstage gossiping? Can the main actors yet see their connection or are they just warming up to the idea of being infatuated with each person?

 

**

Part Four

    1. During the intermission break do the characters interact and do they have time to interact?

»A. What are they saying? Are they touching? Are they trying to hold back feelings? Do they both know and are they both aware or does someone have to make it clear for them??

I. Let there be a brief conversation between the characters. They may congratulate each other on a job well done. Perhaps share some food and laugh over a simple mistake they made that no one in the audience will ever be aware of. Do they make fun of something together such as themselves, a coworker of someone in the audience who has the funniest laugh? What do they share, what do they disagree on? Is the conversation polite or harsh; filled with criticism? It can be anywhere from one to two lines or a page worth of conversation. Just remember, reveal the character while they speak. Let their relationship build so the reader can see it. They should be talking about something worthwhile.

II. Do they practice their lines backstage and do they need to touch each other to do so? Maybe they simply hug or give a handshake on a job well done. A slight brush against the arm “on accident” can give hints that their is romance in the air. This is usually done if they are shy or they don’t want the other coworkers to know they are both falling for each other.

III. Maybe they are oblivious to the feelings for each other or that the other person likes the other. So coworkers make a plan for the two love birds to flirt or forces them to somehow interact more than usual. It doesn’t even have to be people that get them together but coincidence. They could both go on a coffee break and happen to be standing in the same line or bump into each other right when coming out of the restroom. The latter is represented by fate or coincidence.

 

»B. How is everyone else reacting and does it create obstacles for the characters? What is in the main characters minds? Does the main characters care what the cast members think? Are they willing to risk their job for a love affair? Why?

I. Maybe their love is forbidden so they have to sneak. They have to act off stage and pretend to no care about the other until they can meet in a private place. If this is the case, where do they meet and what do they do in that private place? Talk, make out, etc? Does anyone catch them and promise to keep it secret? Does everyone already know but they don’t know everyone knows so they still sneak around?

II. There can be pressure from peers and media if they are considered a couple already. With that said, they may pretend to break up in order to take that pressure off but still go around seeing each other in private. Possibly, causing other cast members to flirt or try to get a date with the other person, unaware they are still seeing the other main character. This also can cause strain in the relationship.
 
 

**

Part Five

    1. What happens after the play? When everyone is leaving and all is said and done.

»A. How does this scene end? And what do you want your readers to realize? Also what do you want your readers to wonder??

I. Do they leave with a kiss, with a confession of their love. Do they leave as if nothing happened? Will they reject their feelings or allow them to flourish?


II. What solutions to dilemmas are solved if they haven’t been solved already? How are the two main characters coping and how have they remained a team in the long run?

III. Lead into your next scene or end the story with a question in the readers mind. If they aren’t together maybe they are thinking “will they end up as a couple?” If they are together by the end maybe the reader can think “will they last? Or does one of them have to take on another job in another location in order for them to make it work?” you decide but make it something that will have them turning the page. Good luck and break a leg!
 
 

 

 

 

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