Structure/Spontaneity

Hey. Whatcha writing there? Whatcha working on?

I’m reworking bits of a play I’ve written and thinking about the importance of structure. I’m looking more closely at the overarching “rules” I’ve applied to the narrative: How quickly does the plot progress? What is the nature of time in the piece? What is the architecture of a particular scene?

Often I shy away from these lofty questions because I think they’re too oppressive. I just want to think about the more “fun” decisions in the dialogue: the witty lines and musicality of phrasing. But it’s these structure-related questions that allow for moments of discovery in rehearsals: the seemingly spontaneous “Aha” moments that feel like they came out of nowhere but are actually informed by the decisions you’ve made in the preparation period.

Anyway.

I guess today I’m thinking about how we need structure in order to be spontaneous. Fun decisions are fun because they either fit or don’t fit in the context of a larger framework. When you’re overwhelmed by big questions, just think that it is those initial decisions you make that shape a space for future exploration.

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