Dystopian Dramatic Writing 4/4

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This term we have developed some creative dramatic writing based around the theme of a dystopian world.

You have learnt how to research, plan and write scripts to communicate ideas to an audience.

You will need a word document or a piece of paper to complete the work this week. You can submit a word document online or upload a photograph of your finished handwritten work.

When you reach a task you need to complete, it will be in a blue box like this.

You have already created an opening scene for your dystopian dramatic writing and you have explored one of your characters in greater detail by creating a monologue.

This week you will write the script for a dramatic moment within your story.

What is a dramatic moment?

Your opening scene and monologue helped to establish the setting and general situation of your play. It set in motion the events that will keep your audience engaged. You now need to build the tension by developing a dramatic moment that drives the plot forwards and keeps the audience wondering what will happen next. In English lessons you may have heard this part of a story described as the ‘rising action.’

Using Stage Directions

Stage directions can really help not only to paint a clear picture of your setting, but also to give directions to the actor on how to perform the dialogue you have written. 

We loved reading your opening scenes two weeks ago, but sometimes it wasn’t instantly obvious that your play was set in a dystopian world. Today’s scene needs to focus on an important moment of your story, one that would grab the audience’s attention and one that shows clearly the dystopian world that you have created.

Your scene today does not have to resolve or end your story, so you can leave things on a cliff-hanger.

Task 1In brackets at the top of your page, set the scene by describing the stage and how your characters would be standing on it. You will need to write in the present tense. Think about: set, props, lighting, sound/music, stage positioning. Here is an example:

(The stage is softly lit creating shadows. A smoke machine rolls smoke downstage. A cityscape is painted in the background which shows burnt out buildings and billowing smoke. There is debris littered on the stage and two figures can be seen crouching behind a burnt-out car. Fire crackling can be heard and there is a strange, animalistic sound that can be heard distantly. One of the figures slowly stands up and tiptoes towards the front of the stage where they become more lit, looking around nervously.)

Now that you have set the scene for your dramatic moment, we can look at how we might use stage directions to give the actors more information about how to say their lines.

Task 2: Watch this short video about how volume, pace and pitch are used when commentating on sport.

The videoclip clearly shows how volume, pace and pitch can create tension and excitement. These are effects that you will need to create in your own writing today.

When you use stage directions, describe how the actor should to use their volume, pace and/or pitch in every line of the script. You can also use them to describe how the actors should move around the stage. Here is an example:

Aria: (shouting piercingly whilst frantically looking around the stage) WHAT IS HAPPENING? CAN ANYONE HELP ME……(suddenly stops and freezes) Hello? (her voice is now a hollow whisper)

You may like to use some of the following adjectives to describe volume, pace and pitch in your own scene:

Volume: loud, booming, deafening, ear-splitting, quiet, soft, hushed, muted, whispering

Pace: fast, quick, rushed, brisk, swift, slow, crawling, deliberate, creeping

Pitch: low, deep, sonorous, hollow, high, shrill, piercing, whining

Task 3: You are now ready to write your script for your dramatic moment. Aim for between 1 and 2 sides of A4. If you have forgotten how to lay out your script, you can go back to the blog ‘Dystopian Writing 2/4’ for a reminder. 

Thank you for all your interesting and exciting creative writing during this project. If you have enjoyed it so far, then keep writing! You never know where your imagination will take you.