Cloud Nine by Carol Churchill is a good example of non-linear play structure. Episodic plays are part of an even more disjointed time structure. There are both many different locations and characters in an episodic play; it is similar to a film script for that matter. Onstage, this was a revolution; how can a person be in one city and then the next shortly after? This was the rule of continuity that episodic structure broke. Bertolt Brecht did this throughout his movement in epic theatre, and traces of this structure can also be found as early back as Medieval plays. Therein lays the problem. If there are so many different way to write a play, how is it possible to just pick one? How does one even decide? There are many texts on playwriting that all say something different. In the end, the way you format a play script is decided by the structure in which you are writing your script, whether it be linear, non-linear, and episodic structures. This is an exploration to research possible methods of playwriting in the English language, choose a format, and create a story, ultimately forming a universally acceptable play script for a one-act production. Through my process, I researched various elements about play structure. I researched various types of formatting options found throughout texts, and the formatting options found in different publications of plays. I also researched the options of different software programs I could use to format my play. In regards to the show's content itself, I researched the personality disorders of my main character, John, in order to ensure I am staying accurate to the realistic expectations of the disorder. The possible disorders that might influence John included Bi-Polar disorder, Autism, Alzheimer's, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. These disorders fit the characteristics of John and further research led me to finally adopt Autism as the end result.; David Ball's Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays, Rosemary Ingham's From Page to Stage: How Theatre Designers Make Connections Between Scripts and Images, and Cal Printer and Scott E. Walter's Introduction to Play Analysis aided in ensuring the translation from the script to the stage works together fluidly. By understanding how the play will be analyzed, the potential flaws with the work can be identified before it is put in front of an audience, publisher, or director. A writer needs to know why they made certain choices with both script and character. When a writer can analyze how their script can be perceived, they can create a more solid structure. It also is useful to utilize available play scripts in order to understand the conventions through example. Works that were useful included: Proof by David Auburn, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Equus by Peter Shaffer, The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, Doubt by John Patrick Shanley, and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. The Vagina Monologues follows the format of episodic structure because of its inconsistencies to time and the multiple characters included in its script. Equus, Proof, and Death of a Salesman are examples of non-linear play structure because of the non-specific timeline the characters follow between past and present. The Glass Menagerie, The Cherry Orchard, and Doubt are all examples of linear structure because a majority of their play's content was written within a specified chronological order.; I researched the historical significance of the car, an all-original, 1969 Stingray Corvette Convertible, in order to allow my characters to speak accurately about their knowledge of the car. I also researched how previous playwrights have accomplished their transitions between the world of the play and a character's alternate reality. This was done in order to provide both a believable and a sly transition so the audience is left unaware until the reveal. In the final stages of this process, I polished the script for inclusion in the Theatre UCF Spring 2012 One-Act Festival (OAF). As stated above, the process of writing a play can be taken down many different avenues; however, the format of a play script is something that remains constant throughout. Knowing the history from where plays derive and which movements created such is just as essential. W. B. Worthen's The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama and Living Theatre by Edwin Wilson and Alvin Goldfarb provide an adequate brevity into the history of theatre. The books Playwriting: Brief and Brilliant by Julie Jensen, Playwriting: A practical guide by Noel Greig, The Art and Craft of Playwriting by Jeffrey Hatcher, and The Elements of Playwriting by Louis E. Catron all provide an introduction to the structured format of the play. These books also contain sections on theory explaining how to create a storyline for a play, how to accomplish believable dialogue, and how to defeat writer's block. Jensen, Catron, and Hatcher all go one step further and take their readers through the processes of publications, copyrights, and productions. Those sources help create the play, but during the editing phase, it is wise to acknowledge how others may study and analyze the work.; Through exploration and research, I plan on combining my two degree tracks, Theatre Studies and Creative Writing, in order to create an original one-act play for production, utilizing the techniques of both fields. My education has been lagging in playwriting, specifically. Neither Creative Writing nor Theatre Studies have any courses geared towards playwriting. Students appear to be taught everything but this aspect. I will, therefore, complete in-depth research in playwriting techniques through literature studies and one-on-one consultations with my professors in both departments. There are many different types of writing structures and play movements. Play scripts can be written in linear, non-linear, and episodic structures. Each structure is measured by the action of a script. The action of a script is developed with each action a character completes that moves the script further along towards a conclusion. Linear structuring of a play is when a majority or all the action of a play occurs in a chronological order. The play, therefore, always will be moving forward in time without any disruptions of said timeline. In a linear play, it does not necessarily mean all the action occurs in this chronological sequence. Comparable to Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, the entire recollection of Tom Wingfield's story is told chronologically in linear structure, despite the fact that this story is from Tom's memory, about an event he is no longer part of at that time. Non-linear structure occurs when the chronological timeline of a play is broken. The play's action constantly moves backwards and forwards through time. This type of play is based on the ideology of the human thought process. As humans, we may not remember the exact order of how things are remembered; these images and events are distorted somehow by our subconscious in order to remember. Thus, a non-linear play erupts based on the infrequencies of a timeline.


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Thesis Completion





Weaver, Earl


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program

Theatre Studies


Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

Included in

Playwriting Commons