1. Rumwriter
    Offline

    Rumwriter Active Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    20

    Stageplay descriptions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, Jan 8, 2014.

    I've done a lot of screenplay work, but never any stage play, so I'm wanting to explore that area.

    In general, when describing a setting, is it better to describe what the imagined scene is, or how the stage should be set up?

    For instance, would you say: "Gios: A quaint Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. It's a quiet joint for the locals, where the regulars get seating upstairs."
    or:

    "An empty table for two, with checkered table cloth, stands at stage left. Upstage, a tall platform represents the second floor. Several more tables here."

    I haven't been able to find any sort of consistency here.
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
    Offline

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,258
    Likes Received:
    422
    Location:
    I'm Welsh - and proud!
    Perhaps @mammamaia will correct me on this, but I've been told to use the latter, with possibly a tiny bit of the former mixed in. E.g. "A quaint Italian restaurant. An empty table for two, with checkered tablecloth, stands at stage left. Upstage, a tall platform represents the second floor. Several more tables here." You should never write description as if it's fiction, like your "It's a quiet joint for the locals, where the regulars get seating upstairs." That's not necessary to know, so it doesn't need to be added. Although, I have to ask, if it's a quiet place, would the stage need quite so many tables set up?

    If you're having trouble, look at some stage plays in more depth; notice what's being described, and what props are being mentioned for the particular scene. :)
     
  3. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    My experience has been the same as @Thomas Kitchen's - whatever is said about the setting is in the form of stage setup. There are also sometimes specific instructions that the curtain be open as the audience enters the theater (Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny Court Martial) or action that occurs just as the curtain opens (Moises Kaufman's 33 Variations).

    However, I, too, will defer to the wisdom of @mammamaia on this for current works.
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    you both get an A+, kids!

    rumwriter...
    yes, the stage directions are written for the director and technicians [propmaster/LD/wardrobe/etc]... and should be clear and concise...

    feel free to email me if you need any further help in writing your play...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     

Share This Page