- Paperback: 334 pages
- Publisher: Merricat Publications (November 24, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1434403874
- ISBN-13: 978-1434403872
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of Dramatic Writing
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Nevertheless, "The Art of Dramatic Writing" is an excellent book for novice playwrights, aspiring drama critics, or theatre students. Readers interested in dramatic theory will also be absorbed by Egri's systematic deconstruction of plays by Ibsen, Strindberg, Shakespeare, and O'Neill to prove his theory that character is the basis of a great story. In summary, here is what Egri writes:
* Character drives plot, not the other way around.
* Well-drawn characters possess three dimensions, physiology, sociology, and psychology. Avoiding any of these three in developing a character will lead to composing a failed drama.
* The play must have a premise that its writer can assert in a three-part sentence suggesting character, conflict, and resolution. Examples: Power-mongering (character) results in (conflict) self-destruction (resolution). Love (character) conquers (conflict) oppression (resolution).
* Conflict should slowly rise to create conflict, tension, climax, and conclusion. It should not be static, leading to boredom, or jumping, leading to melodrama.
* Conflict demands perpetual exposition, or transition.
* Plays should start at a turning point in a pivotal character's life.
* Characters in conflict are drawn by unity of opposites. He does a fine job of illustrating this concept by breaking down numerous dramatic characters, most notably Nora and Torvald in Ibsen's "A Doll's House."
A lot has been said about the author's relentless assault on plays and playwrights he considers inferior (he despises "Tobacco Road" and rebukes all things Noel Coward). But Egri's observations on humanity are universal and his tips on approaching the craft of playwriting are timeless. Great writers such as Woody Allen have found his work stimulating. This is one engaging, highly instructive book.