Scripts are written to be broken.  Scripts get shattered in process by misunderstood meaning, poor plot development and shoddy character formation — and that’s all before a director even reads the thing! 


When a script is in trouble, the person the original Playwright must trust in helping find a fix is another Playwright — because the Playwright-to-Playwright dyad connects similar minds and intentions for the common good.

Too often in the theatre you see a producer or a director working directly with a Playwright to “fix” the script — and when that happens, bad intentions blossom on stage in performance. 

A producer fixes a script to save money; a director fixes a script to make staging cheaper to please the producer.

When you have a disinterested Playwright put in the stew to advise only the Playwright under pressure, good things happen.  Fears can be expressed.  Structure can be fixed.  Characters can be rooted out to be rooted for and against.

Fixing a script can mean a starting over from scratch and that takes time and money — and that notion is never kindly looked upon when you’re in the hot mix of production — but sometimes beginning fresh brings forward only the best of what was. 

Few people in an active production are willing to risk condensing time and a rising tide to level the plot and that is why the external voice of reason of a Playwright protecting a Playwright is a theatre touchstone that has saved more productions than it has failed.

While others in process may believe they have the training to fix a script,  but none of them are the Playwright in situ risking the goat as their end.

2 Comments

  1. It’s a mistake of convenience, Gordon. These people think they know how to fix a script, but they really have no direct experience even writing a script. Do you need to be able to write a success play to fix a play? Yes. Just like you need to build a ship to know how to fix one.

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