So, I’m reading scripts for a competition. The competition requires a twenty page sample.
They don’t say WHAT twenty pages, true. And that’s cool. Any twenty pages from a play, I’m cool with that.
Now, personally, I would do the FIRST twenty pages. These are the pages that introduce the audience to the world of the play, the style, the language, and most likely the major need/conflict of the play. To me: it’s perfect for a submission of twenty pages.
Now, some people are submitting the LAST twenty pages… Ok. They feel this is the most exciting part of their play (which if it is…what does that mean for the first 80 pages?) Fine, I’ll read the last twenty pages.
BUT GIVE ME A SYNOPSIS. SOMETHING so I understand WHAT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE. Help me help you. I want to like this play, I, in fact want to LOVE the play that I’m reading. But, if I’m struggling to figure out why people are yelling and screaming, punching, crying then I’ll have a harder time loving the play.
A synopsis. A few sentences ANYTHING. Not just a character list or a location, what has HAPPENED.
You wouldn’t just show the last twenty minutes of a play to an audience so why are you making me read the last twenty pages?
Even a play that begins in Media Res STILL functions like the beginning of a play, we get information about who, what, where and why.
But the LAST twenty pages are designed to be the LAST pages, things are coming to a close, conflicts are settled, characters lives are moving on, but without context I don’t CARE, I don’t UNDERSTAND.
So, if you have decided that the first twenty pages aren’t the best or the most exciting (which then, you should really look at those pages again, who wants to sit through something boring to get to the exciting bits) and you are going to submit something from the middle or the end: take a few sentences and set up the scenes. Provide context.
Help me love your play.