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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 158 - A Play About Plays

In my day, I’ve written a lot about writing, including how writers write. I’ve never been too certain how much non-professional readers like to read about writing as opposed to reading a good story.

A case in point is a play at South Coast Repertory, Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker. The play has already been successful, winning an OBIE award and being named to the top ten list of plays in the New York Times and the New Yorker.

It is a play about acting, at least on the surface. It takes place in a summer acting class in Vermont and features five characters who have various reasons for being there. On one level it shows how actors train to be actors. However, if that was all there is to this play, it would be dull indeed.

It has a deeper level, which is what all good plays and books have, a great story, characters who grab us and hang on to us, and a setup that keeps us wanting more. The play is not about acting as such, it is about how the characters change when placed in a situation in which they have to stretch. Some of the change is good and some not so good.

Occasionally you find novels about writing novels, movies about making movies, and plays about acting. Some are good and some fail miserably. I contend that the ones that succeed do so not because of the subject matter but because they are good stories that illuminate the human condition brilliantly.

Circle Mirror Transformation does this very well. When you write your own pieces, remember this lesson. It is not about the surface premise; it is about how the characters interact with each other, how they grow and how they change.

That’s what people want to see.

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