Essay

Many playwrights take inspiration for their plays from the world around them.  Then they take that inspiration and transform it into the world of the play, which theatre artists create onstage.  A tremendous part of creating the world of a play is becoming a student of the world around you; becoming an active observer of how people talk and interact with each other, and what the world around you looks, sounds, and feels like.

The Prompt

Your assignment is to go to a public place.  This could be any place that has a lot of people; for example, a restaurant, a mall, an airport, etc.  You will need to be there for a few minutes, so make sure it’s someplace comfortable. 

 First, what you need to do is describe your setting (where you are).  Do not use the name of the location…make us guess.  We want to know the atmosphere of the place, the noises (including background noises), colors you see, items that might be around you, etc.  The more detail, the better.  

The second thing you need to do is listen to a conversation around you and write down what is being said.  Make sure you include descriptions of the people in the conversation.  Also, include their moods, feelings, etc.  You’ll be able to tell this partly by how they talk, how loud they are, facial expressions, and body language. We don’t want a generic conversation: “Hi, how are you?” “I’m fine.” “Well, see ya.”  Listen for something interesting.  Be patient, it might take a couple of tries before you get something.  Don’t elaborate on the dialogue, just record what they say.

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