Social Distancing Plays

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Stay creative during social distancing!

Here’s how you play:

  • Determine how many people are in your household AND willing to participate. Don’t break social distancing. Want to involve friends via technology? Go for it! But these are the people who are helping you make your play and/or helping you perform it.
  • Use the prompt of the week!
  • Write your short play. It should be between 90 seconds and 10 minutes long. ONLY write as many characters as you have willing participants.
  • Optional: Email your script to Aimee if you want a second set of eyes on it.
  • Your short play is due 5:00 pm each Friday of the week.
  • Monday morning, we start with a new prompt!
  • At the end of the large group gathering ban, we’ll do a staged reading of a selection of these plays. Dates TBD, of course!
  • Bonus: make a 60 second video of a selection of your short play and we’ll post it to the CTW page!


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What’s a tragedy?

A tragedy is not a sad play; rather, it is a plot structure in which our protagonist (who has EVERYTHING) decides to pursue something. A person, revenge, money, power…it depends!

At least one person has to tell our protagonist that it is a BAD IDEA to do this. Our protagonist will ignore them (or worse.)

Our protagonist will lose EVERYTHING in the pursuit of this thing, and they’ll mess up the lives of everyone around them, too.

Ultimately they may or may not get the thing they’ve been chasing after this whole time. But what DOES have to happen is they lose it all. All that power/wealth/ status/loved ones. All gone.

…how is that funny?

That’s the tricky part! Find elements of humor in what would normally be a sad or boring situation.

Example: a straight A student gets (GASP) a B. They begin an obsessive quest to achieve their A, no matter the cost. Will they successfully regain their perfect status, or get caught hacking into the school computer?!

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PROMPT FOR MARCH 23-27, 2020: Stuff Y’all Left Lying Around

Y’all are messy.

You leave weird stuff lying around the theatre and sometimes we have no idea why this item is in our theatre, let alone left lying aroun. As I was cleaning up the rooms before the shelter-in-place, I realized this would be a great prompt for this week’s Social Distancing Plays.

So! I grabbed one item from each classroom: a measuring tape, a water bottle, chapstick, a food storage container (with a few goldfish crumbs inside!), and an overflowing trash can.

You must use each item in your Social Distancing Play for this week! They can be pivotal to your story, or background items. But put them ALL in.

Everything else is up to you! Make it funny or sad, romantic or scary. Adventure, sci-fi, drama…all up to you!

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PROMPT FOR MARCH 30-APRIL 3, 2020: Do the Five!

Have you seen the World Heath Organization (WHO) guidelines?

Write a play that does NOT take place in the here and now (because we don’t want to encourage anyone to break these guidelines in real life!) in which the characters don’t, or can’t, do these five things. Covid-19 doesn’t exist in this play!

They don’t wash their hands at some point, they don’t cough into their elbow, they do touch their face, they are close to other people, and they leave their houses and go out and about!

Everything else is up to you! Make it funny or sad, romantic or scary. Adventure, sci-fi, drama…all up to you!

And make sure you DO actually do the five in real life! Stay safe! See you soon!

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If you’re stuck, use these guidelines to write your play!

Determine what your protagonist’s life is normally like. We call that “status quo.” We need to know what’s normal so we can see how WILD the story gets.

Your protagonist wants something. Define that clearly.

Something will try to stop your protagonist from getting what they want. Pick anything from 1-4 things they could face. Does someone try to stop them? Do they get distracted? Do they realize they have to choose between two things? Do they lose their power to go after their goal?

Your protagonist needs to figure out how to get around those obstacles. Use your verbs on this one. Will they plead? Trick? Bargain? Force? Scare? Persuade? Offer? Help?

Will your protagonist succeed at what they want? Will they fail? Will it be a combination of getting what they want, but not how they originally thought it would be? 

Determine the new normal for your protagonist. Now that their adventure is over, what is their life like? How are they different?

PRO TIP: Make sure you’re writing a play, not a movie! If you can’t show it on stage, find a way to creatively work it into the play. But avoid plays that have technical elements that you can’t create in your living room.