- Gary Kuyper – Bench Marks
- Jenny Young – The Meeting Place
- Derek Griffin – Truth or Dare
I would like to say a big thank you to The South African Writers’ Circle for giving me the opportunity to judge this competition. The process exceeded my expectations and I am delighted to have been a part of your One Act Writing Competition.
A very big WELL DONE goes out to all of the playwrights who spent hours developing characters and creating dialogue. Writing plays is a trying task as it is often difficult to write what you ‘see’ happening on stage OR ‘see’ what you are writing about. It can lead to confusion, misery, despondency and withdrawal. I am very glad that the four contestants persevered until the end.
In general, I was very impressed by the thorough stage directions given by the playwrights. I had no difficulty imagining what would be unfolding on stage had the plays been acted in front of me. I was moved by the local flavour and I enjoyed the written accents which the playwrights attached to the characters.
My top three suggestions are as follows; I highly recommend that playwrights spend ample time writing character analyses and learning their characters. Well thought out characters allow our plays to have more depth and allow for consistency of a character throughout the play.
My second suggestion is regarding time. Writing a play and judging its stage time is difficult because stage directions may take up more time than dialogue. I suggest playwrights read the play ‘in real time.’ Which means that playwrights time the read through by pausing for actions to take place. One act plays are meant to be between twenty and forty minutes long, this ‘real time’ read through will help playwrights decipher the true length of their plays.
My final suggestion is regarding action on stage. I know that we don’t want to turn our one act plays into a circus but try to incorporate action and movement wherever possible. Stagnant plays result in bored audience members, captivate the audience by incorporating actions and movement on stage.
Other than that, I want everyone to know how impressed I am with the level of writing that I witnessed. The plots were interesting, and I could see all of these plays being performed at community theatre or high school theatre level. Congratulations!
Well done everyone!
Please do not be dismayed by your result, everyone wrote wonderful One Act Plays and you should all be very proud of yourselves.