Plays should be 10 minutes or less and connect to the theme: Facing Your Fears. Playwrights should be 18 years or younger.
Advice for Young Playwrights:
This is a ten minute play, not a ten-minute scene; a complete story should be told with a beginning, middle, and end.
The general structure of a ten minute play is exposition (setting the stage for the story), conflict (what’s the problem in the story?), complication (why can’t the problem be solved?), climax (most exciting, turning point of story—how the problem is or isn’t solved), resolution (ending, and how everything is tied together, whether characters get what they want or not.) Example: In Hercules, we see the gods and Mt. Olympus, Hades’ interruption of the party introduces the conflict, Hercules being made mortal is the first complication (though there can be many in a longer story like this!), the climax is Hercules swimming in the pool at the Underworld, and the resolution is him choosing to remain mortal.
Step into conflict as soon as possible.Ten minutes is not a long time to tell a story—get to the point and grab the audience’s attention from the start. Example: Mulan begins with the Huns attacking the great wall of China. Before exposition is given, we’re told what the problem in the story is.
Show, don’t tell. Don’t have a character say “I’m sad”. Have the character show the audience that they’re sad. Example: In Cinderella, Cinderella doesn’t tell people that she’s sad when she can’t go to the ball; instead, she starts crying to show that she’s sad.
Characters should be driven by a goal. What do they want to accomplish? Do they succeed or fail? Whatever happens, how does it affect them? This goal may on the surface seem specific to the character, but also should be one all people can relate to.
Example: In Finding Nemo, Marlin’s goal is to find his son, Nemo, and everything he does in the movie is to meet this goal. Universally, Marlin wants a family.
On the note of characters—interesting characters change over the course of a story! How do the events of the story affect the character? Do they make the character a better person?
Example: In The Lion King, Simba starts out as a spunky cub, becomes a scared slacker, but ultimately becomes a brave king.
Interesting characters have good and bad traits. An unsympathetic villain or a perfect hero is boring. Example: In Tangled, Flynn Rider (along with Rapunzel) is the hero of the story, but he’s also a roguish thief.
Breaking away from expectations creates energy, either serious or funny. For example, when adding eggs to a cake mix, we would expect a person to break the eggs open first. However, in Sleeping Beauty, adding eggs becomes humorous as the fairy folds them in whole, without cracking them.
Get words on the page no matter what! Even if you think it isn’t your best work, keep writing!
Happy writing, playwrights! We can’t wait to read your play! — Annika Schultz, 2017 Education Apprentice
Sophie Camera-Murray | Bad Reception
Sophie is seven years old and currently a 2nd grader at Lincoln School in Winchester, MA. She has been taking classes with Gloucester Stage’s Youth Acting Workshops for two years. Sophie enjoys reading graphic novels and does not have a phone…yet.
Schuylar Thayne Corbett | The Biggest Bear in the Forest
Schuylar is eight years old and currently a 3rd grader at East Gloucester Elementary School. Her previous experience includes performing in Holiday Delights 2016, Playtime Stories 2017, and “The Little Mermaid” at the September Block party with Gloucester Stage. She is also was in Mary Poppins at Manchester Summer Stage. This Schuylar’s second year of involvement with YAW. She is an expert at creating slime and has a collection of slimes, as well as original formulas.
Ruby Lyman | The Biggest Bear in the Forest
Ruby is nine years old and currently a 3rd grader at Rockport Elementary School. She has previously been involved with plays at her school and church, and this is her debut YAW performance! She likes riding horses and visited the wild ponies of Chincoteague this summer!
Lia Sophia Numerosi | Wired Up
Lia Sophia is eleven years old and currently a 6th grader at Saints Academy in Beverly, MA. She has been involved with YAW for five years and has performed in the annual Holiday Delights performance since she was six years old! She has also performed in shows at St. John’s the Evangelist for two years and has been involved with drama at Saint’s Academy. Her favorite color is red, her favorite animal is the hedgehog, and she hopes to one da be an environmental scientist and make a difference in the world.
Malia Andrews | Wired Up
Malia is eleven years old and is currently a 6th grader at O’Maley Middle School in Gloucester, MA. She has been doing YAW for three years, and she has previously performed in Playtime Stories and Holiday Delights at Gloucester Stage Company. She recently auditioned for a role at the North Shore Music Theatre!
Meagan Gallo | Disconnected
Meagan Gallo is fifteen years old and currently a sophomore at Gloucester High School. Recently at Gloucester Stage, she was in Israel Horovitz’s short play The New Girl as Tricia. Over the summer she was a part of Playtime Stories where she played numerous roles such as Harold in Harold and the Purple Crayon and Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She was previously in the productions of Seussical as an ensemble member, and The Lion King Jr. as Zazu. She has been doing YAW for 3 years now. She was in Holiday Delights 2015 and 2016. In Holiday Delights 2016, she played Daughter 1. A fun fact about Meagan is that she loves to ski.
Annika Schultz | The Power Couple
Annika is twenty-two years old and the education apprentice at Gloucester Stage Company. Now a “first grader of adulthood”, she graduated from Gordon College in May 2017. She performed with Whitinsville Christian School Drama all throughout high school, and explored the wonderful world of backstage theatre at Gordon College. This is her first year of being involved with YAW! Her favorite animals are owls and dinosaurs, and she’s always wanted to learn how to ride a skateboard.