Playwrights often work from existing material to create plays. For example Walter Wykes adapted Edna Ferber’s short story, “Sun Dried,” into a play of the same name. As a next step toward investigating the guiding question of the course, how does a written text become a living, shared moment in the performance space, your task in this assignment is to write a 10-minute play based on a short story from the list provided and an introductory essay in which you analyze the decisions made in preparing your adaptation.
Your work on the assignment will proceed in stages: first, you will work in groups to identify the thematic elements of the short story you are adapting, including characters, plot and action; next, you will work in groups to prepare your 10-minute play following the guidelines, “How to Write a 10-minute Play,” available on 10-minute-plays.com; and finally, you will work individually to write a 3-page introduction to the group’s adaptation. Your group will present its 10-minute play to the class.
Audience: Members of the class
Format: 10-minute Play Script: approximately 10 pages, typed; Introduction: 1000 words (3-4 pages); MLA style
Advice:The best plays will convey a sense of unity around the central theme of the short story. In other words, every detail of character, plot, and action will relate to the central theme. The best introductions will describe the overall structure of the story, justify any cuts or additions to existing dialogue or action, and explain how your group used literary features and thematic elements to highlight the story’s central theme. Your introduction should note any disagreements among the group about decisions made.
(FOR INSTRUCTORS ONLY)
Type: Present research within the conventions of a genre that is particularly relevant to the course topic.
Rationale: The purpose of this assignment is to give students an opportunity to put into practice the techniques they analyzed in essay #1. Focusing on conveying a central theme of the story will give students practice with arranging elements in support of a main claim. The introductory essay will reinforce the principles of organization and Harvey’s “Stance” by asking students to reflect on the process the group followed in adapting the story.
- Read Ferber’s “Sun Dried” and Wyke’s adaptation and identify and assess similarities and differences
- Work in groups to annotate short stories in order to identify central themes and supporting details
- In-class writing and peer review of draft plays using the guidelines at 10-minute-plays.com to evaluate structure and unity
- Prepare outlines of introductory essays for group review
- In-class or out-of-class writing reviewing another group’s performance of their adaptation (using Performance Review Outline)