A methodology for playwriting



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Texas Tech University


Playwriting as an art form has existed from the Golden Age of Greece to the present. From Aeschulus to Shakespeare to Ibsen to contemporary times, the work of the writer has served to shape not only what has been presented upon the stage, but indeed, the writer's particular society as well. In modern times, the percentage of the population exposed to live plays has declined compared to the media of film and television, but the play has nonetheless endured as a viable art form. This is due in part to two factors: first the constant evolution of the form itself, and second, the efforts of critics and scholars to describe and codify those dramatic works. In Poetics, Aristotle gave the world the first example of Dramatic Criticism when, in his commentary upon the works of Aeschulus, Sophocles, and Euripides, he sought to determine those factors which were sufficient and necessary to producing a viable work of Dramatic Art. In the 17th century, the French Academy imposed guidelines upon dramatic structure that were to shape the direction of French theatre until modern times. In the 20th century, works such as George Pierce Baker's Dramatic Technique have influenced playwrights and thus shaped the direction of the art form.