David Edgar

How Plays Work

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Distinguished playwright David Edgar examines the mechanisms and techniques which dramatists throughout the ages have employed to structure their plays and to express their meaning.
Written for playwrights and playgoers alike, Edgar's analysis starts with the building blocks of whole plays — plot, character creation, genre and structure — and moves on to scenes and devices. He shows how plays share a common architecture without which the uniqueness of their authors' vision would be invisible.
What does King Lear have in common with Cinderella? What does Jaws owe to Ibsen? From Aeschylus to Alan Ayckbourn, from Chekhov to Caryl Churchill, are there common principles by which all plays work?
How Plays Work is a masterclass for playwrights and playmakers and a fascinating guide to the anatomy of drama.
'Lucid, deeply intelligent… combines theoretical acumen with the assured know-how of a working dramatist' Terry Eagleton, Times Literary Supplement
'Fascinating… Read It. You will learn a lot.' The Stage
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259 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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