Wednesday, March 9: Building Plot

Over the past few days we have worked on building our plot structures.

Here are the notes and handouts from these days:

Theme in Drama notes (L8)

The Three Act Plot Structure Notes (L9)

The Three Act Plot Structure Outline – required for moving forward with writing the play

We will have work days on Thursday and Friday this week. Just a reminder, here is the assignment that was passed out.

The Politics of the Domestic: A Collaborative Playwriting Project

Your task is to collaboratively write a play that illuminates how a social or political issue can impact the everyday lives of everyday people. Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry and A Raisin in the Sun, we will choose a topic that has political or social relevance (like housing discrimination), and show its impact on the personal lives of an everyday family or set of characters (like the Youngers).


  • You may choose your own group based on your topic, or you may work alone. Your teacher reserves the right to make final grouping decisions and split up any group at any point if you are not using your time efficiently.


Your play must . . .

  • be set in a living space (living room, bedroom, trailer, jail cell); no setting changes are allowed
  • take place in a restricted time frame, not more than one month
  • have at least as many characters as there are group members (but it can have more); an odd number of main characters is recommended
  • follow the three-act plot structure
  • include thoughtfully-written stage directions for the actors in almost every line, as Hansberry does
  • be at least ten pages long (i.e. at least ten minutes)
  • include at least one monologue of at least 200 words for each main character (i.e. each member of the group)
  • have a title drawn from a poem

It must include the following:

  • a thorough description of the setting and time period
  • dramatic irony (at least three times)
  • a symbol (at least one per group member)
  • coincidence-related tension
  • comic relief after a moment of tension
  • a main character that the audience feels ambivalent about or has some moral ambiguity
  • foil characters: two characters that have opposite personality traits
  • five self-interrupted sentences that the audience must complete in their minds (this is an exercise in subtext)
  • three asides that the character says aloud for only the audience to hear

You must also include at least one of the following:

  • a one-sided telephone call; a sound effect or line delivered offstage; a word, phrase, or sentence delivered in unison; or characters talking over each other (format this on your page in two columns)