Six Tips for Writing Kids' Plays
Chuck Sambuchino reports:
"Avoid special effects, amazing stunts, or anything else that can’t be accomplished by ordinary kids. Keep costumes, sets, and props to a minimum. Writing in the readers theatre format is one of the best ways to create a play that’s simple to stage but exciting in content...Use an adjustable cast. Of course, you want to follow publishers’ guidelines about size of cast and number of female/male roles. But you can make your play adaptable to various situations by building in some casting flexibility...Use some unisex names for characters or double up on titles...Instead of letting your main character do all the talking, distribute lines among a number of roles. If you use group characters...give them lines that allow for adlibs so everyone gets to say something...And most importantly, give secondary characters interesting personalities and some problems of their own – that makes them fun to play and entertaining to watch...Listen to kids talk to get an idea of how to recreate their conversations, read your dialogue out loud with a critical ear, and polish, polish, polish. Nothing is more essential to a good play than well-written dialogue!...[D]on’t be afraid to experiment a little with your play! Let the narrator express personal opinions about what’s happening onstage. Allow your main character to argue with the narrator. Place a heckler in the audience or bring an audience member on stage...Create a relatable main character, give him/her a problem worth caring about, go through a complete story arc, end up with a good lesson that’s not too heavy-handed, etc., etc., just as you would when writing a kids’ story or book...Make your script meaningful, as well as entertaining. That’s the kind of play that gets published and performed!"
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