Three Similarities in Theater and Writing

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“All the world’s a stage,” so they say, and a backdrop for what we experience, how we react and respond, what we do, what and how we learn.

For six years, I worked in theater, the person behind the scenes as production manager, costume assistant, seamstress, hair/makeup assistant, and as backstage rehearsal support. Long hours, late nights, and large cups of strong coffee were my best friends during those years.

And now as a writer, long hours, late nights, and lots of coffee are still my best friends. I get to work with a different type of “stage”: the backdrop of paper and the illustration of ink. And my characters are, well, the actors. And I’m the director. Or at least I try to be.

Do I miss the stage? You bet I do! A piece of my heart belongs to the world of theater, and I secretly want to join a traveling acting team. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone!) The picture above is special to me because it was a debut production. “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” and the actors who performed each role ravished students, faculty, and staff with its swashbuckling, wit, and intense moments during every night of the performance.

Delightfully enough, the acting and writing are similar. And without further ado, may I present three things wherein writing and acting similar.

  1. Creativity
    Just as the director must devise creative ways to direct the cast in how to produce just the right emotion, the right action, the right message that conveys the correct audience response, so does the writing need to create compelling characters, engaging plot, and a strong message that encourages readers.
  2. Conciseness
    Just as the script must include those actions, cues, and dialogue needs to tell a tight story with a lesson, moral, truth, or concept, so writing should convey a well-planned plot that presents only those details that further enhance the story’s message, the character’s desire/goal, and the author’s intent.
  3. Cleverness
    Just like every road has a turn, every great play has that twist, that sudden “What? No way! That can’t—” which catches the viewer off guard and sets them on the edge of their seat. Likewise, a great story will have that shock factor that grabs the reader by the throat or causes their heart to connect with the character, and thereby compelling the reader to read just one more chapter until they’ve reached the end.

My creative friends, seek to craft a work that is creative, concise, and clever, for in doing so, readers (and viewers alike) will have a wonderful reading (or viewing) experience.

Your Turn!

What other similarities would you add?

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