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Playwriting

Thespy Playwriting (formerly Playworks) is sponsored by Concord Theatricals and nurtures original student-written plays from the page to the stage. In a Playwriting adjudication, the Thespian must write an original short play. The plays must be the original work of a single Thespian writer. Collaborative works or adaptations are not permitted, nor are plays that include music, lyrics, or dialogue written by anyone other than the submitting writer. Only one play may be submitted per student. Professional directors and dramaturgs will help the chosen finalists workshop and present their plays with student actors.

The skills measured by the adjudicators are:

  • An understanding of how the elements of the play create an intentional structure
  • Ability to create well developed characters
  • Ability to create authentic dialogue that supports and amplifies the action

The Thespian must prepare:

  1. A typed (12-point font) short play on any subject with a running time of 30 minutes or less (approximately 30 typed pages).
  2. A cover page that should include the title of the play, the student’s name and email address, school name, troupe number, and the troupe director’s name and email address.
  3. A character synopsis page listing the name and a brief description of each character.

For Playwriting adjudication, the Thespian does not need to make a presentation – the work should stand alone. Adjudicators will supply feedback on the online adjudication form.

Deadline

Like other Thespy categories, writers must qualify at a chapter event or at the EdTA qualifying event in order to be eligible. Qualifying students in this category will be adjudicated earlier than other Thespy categories, in order to facilitate virtual coaching sessions with a professional dramaturg and director prior to Festival. Up to four of the top scoring students will be selected to workshop their pieces at ITF, culminating in a live staged reading at the festival. Qualifying students must be reported to EdTA by March 1, finalists will be notified by April 1.

Rights

All work is protected by copyright from the moment it is created. Writers own their plays and have exclusive control of the rights to produce, publish, and adapt them. By submitting work to Thespy Playwriting, you agree to allow the International Thespian Society (at its discretion) to mount a staged reading of your play. The society may also (at its discretion) publish your script (or portions of it) and submit it to Concord Theatricals for their publication consideration. All other rights remain the exclusive property of the writer.

 

Playwriting Rubric

STRUCTURE

Superior
Above Standard

All elements of the play (e.g. action, transitions, setting, characters, conflict) work together seamlessly and concisely to tell the story.

Chosen structure is intentional, cohesively used to carry and extend the dramatic action.

Excellent
At standard

Most elements of the play (e.g. action, transitions, setting, characters, conflict) work together to tell the story.

Chosen structure is intentional and maintained throughout the play.

Good
Near Standard

Some elements of the play (e.g. action, transitions, setting, characters, conflict) work together to tell the story.

Chosen structure is intentional and maintained through most of the play.

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

There is little cohesion; elements of the play (e.g. action, transitions, setting, characters, conflict) fail to work together or may even detract from each other.

Chosen structure is unclear.


CHARACTERIZATION

Superior
Above Standard

Well developed multi-dimensional characters motivated by a strong and urgent through line, conflict and obstacles.  

Characters seem authentic and indispensable to the world of the play.

The playwright makes it easy to imagine character inner life and empathize with their dilemmas. 

Excellent
At standard

Well-developed characters with actions motivated by a clear through line, conflict and obstacles.  

Characters are believable.

It is possible to empathize with the character dilemmas.

Good
Near Standard

Partially developed characters with somewhat motivated actions connected to the conflict. 

Characters are mostly believable. 

There are moments when it is possible to empathize with the character dilemmas. Partially developed characters with somewhat motivated actions connected to the conflict. 

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Underdeveloped characters with occasionally motivated actions connected to the conflict.  

Characters seem contrived or unrealistic.

There are few moments when it is possible to empathize with the character dilemmas.
 


DIALOGUE

Superior
Above Standard

Dialogue consistently reveals subtle character traits and deepens character personalities. 

Dialogue is authentic and is cohesive throughout the play for each character. 

Dialogue supports and amplifies the action via word choice and subtext.   

Excellent
At standard

Dialogue helps establish character traits and  suggest character personalities. 

Dialogue is believable and consistent throughout the play.   
Dialogue supports the action and implies subtext.  

Good
Near Standard

Dialogue suggests character traits.  

Dialogue is mostly believable and somewhat consistent throughout the play.  

Dialogue aligns with the action.

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Dialogue occasionally suggests character traits.  

Dialogue is occasionally believable, however there is little or no consistency.    

Dialogue does little to support the action.

Download All Rubrics (PDF)

 

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