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Secret Life of Plays. The Paperback – 16 Sep 2010


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Secret Life of Plays. The + How Plays Work (Nick Hern Books) + The Crafty Art of Playmaking
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books; Reprint edition (16 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848420005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848420007
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Steve Waters' book is like his plays: clear, elegant and stimulating throughout --David Edgar

About the Author

STEVE WATERS is the Convenor of the Playwriting Studies MPhil at Birmingham University. His plays have been staged at the Donmar Warehouse (World Music), Sheffield Crucible (The Unthinkable), Hampstead Theatre (Fast Labour) and, most recently, the Bush Theatre (The Contingency Plan). All are published by NHB.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jules on 27 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback
For years, I've been going to playwriting workshops, devouring scripts, seeing as many shows as I could afford, writing like a maniac, and trying to understand the strange mix of people, time, space and stuff that is a play. If you don't train in theatre, you don't have that frame of reference - concepts of space, symbols, negotiation, status, exposition, time, subtext, audience engagement, disruption, gesture, ritual etc. These areas are rarely explored in writing workshops, yet they are essential for an understanding of the medium.

Fiction and film writers are well served with thoughtful overviews, but I searched high and low for a playwright's equivalent of John Mullan's 'How Novels Work' and Alexander McKendrick's 'On Film-Making'. Edgar's 'How Plays Work' was a great start, and Steve Waters is even better. I particularly love that he gives context and examples not just from plays, but also from film, poetry, fiction and music, so we see universal concepts at work. And - oh my! - he also gets specific about language, e.g. the effect of past tense, which most other playwriting books overlook.

This isn't a 'how-to' - it's a highly readable discussion of the structural bones underpinning drama, aimed at the drama and literature student, playwright and lover of theatre. Rewarding, inspiring and generous.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By hemingway on 24 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
Steve Waters takes over where David Edgar left off. Loaded with brilliant ideas for ground-breaking writing. I've read many books about writing plays but this is the best!Good background, easy to read,thought-provoking. Whether you're just starting to write plays or have been, this book is highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chazabo on 5 Nov 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Steve Waters explains elegantly and straight-forwardly different components that make up the construction of a play. Exploring such things as the conception of ideas, characterization, time, the importance of acts, dialogue and different ways of approaching drama (as journalist, as poet, as iconoclast, as sociologist...etc). There are about a dozen useful insights and tips which would stop you from making amateur mistakes and enable you to enrich your script a bit more. It's not extremely in depth but you'll have to browse lots of books on the subject anyway. It's better than Lajos Elegri's art of writing drama, which for me was a little simplistic.
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