Drama versus Writing

people at theater
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When I retired from teaching drama I thought I’d never find something to take it’s place – until I began to write!

Believing there to be certain similarities between the two I set about questioning their differences.

Drama teaching involves developing characters the playwright has already created and the teacher, or director, has the job of bringing those characters to life and putting flesh on their bones. It involves costuming the characters appropriately and visualizing where the action is taking place in order to produce a set. It is then about polishing the play, until it feels ready to be viewed by others, the audience – and it is about marketing –  things we also need to do as writers.

The main difference, as I see it, is that with drama I am ‘looking outwards’. I am viewing what I have interpreted from reading the script. While with writing I become locked ‘inside’ myself, lost inside my own head. I become unaware of what’s going on around me, where time vanishes and I ‘become’ each of my own imagined characters. It is only after my work is done that I have the luxury of hearing their voices ‘out loud’ as I edit my work.

So, for me, the difference between drama and writing is – in drama we bring to life someone else’s thoughts and ideas and present what we imagine from the page – while looking out – while in writing we delve inside our own imagination to develop, control, visualize and plot the path we wish our characters to take – thereby having more hold over them.

I am still learning and am sure I always will be. But the road I now travel is taking me on a new and exciting adventure, an adventure where I am the one in charge.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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