Well-made play structure dissected

An insightful long read from maker and critic Maddy Costa, into what many theatre makers think about the “well made” play structure today taking into accounts ideas about what makes that traditional concept (although I find it interesting no one mentioned Artistotle’s Poetics) and how other play forms and collaboration forms work.

It also recalls the podcast between David Eldridge and Chris Goode and the series of blog they had going over 10 years ago, where Chris makes work typically not from a writer-centric view.


“...I spoke to 12 people working in theatre today, as playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, critics and producers, and put the question to them. Fascinatingly, the answers reveal that while the phrase connotes one thing, culturally and critically, for many theatre-makers it potentially means something quite different.

First, the connotations. Vicky Featherstone, artistic director of the Royal Court, declares the well-made play a relic of the past: “a very particular form of storytelling that no new play subscribes to now at all”. In describing that form, she thinks of Ibsen and Chekhov, “protracted narrative development” and “a maid coming on for two scenes”. What we have now is “the grandchild of the well-made play: conventional narrative drama where we tell a story from A to B, where we meet the characters and follow their story, which we have empathy for”....”

More here: https://www.writeaplay.co.uk/the-well-made-play-and-the-play-made-well-by-maddy-costa/