How Plays Work
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback, 288 pages ISBN: 9781839040313Publication Date:
19 Aug 2021
Size: 216mm x 135mm£14.99 £11.99You save £3.00 (20%)
EPUB, 288 pages ISBN: 9781788504799Publication Date:
19 Aug 2021
£14.99 £11.99You save £3.00 (20%)

How Plays Work

By David Edgar

Paperback £14.99£11.99

EPUB £14.99£11.99

In How Plays Work, distinguished playwright David Edgar examines the mechanisms and techniques which dramatists throughout the ages have employed to structure their plays and to express their meaning.

Written for playwrights and playgoers alike, Edgar's analysis starts with the building blocks of whole plays – plot, character-creation, genre and structure – and moves on to scenes and devices. He shows how plays share a common architecture without which the uniqueness of their authors' vision would be invisible.

How Plays Work is both a masterclass for playwrights and playmakers and a fascinating guide to the anatomy of drama. In this revised edition, Edgar brings the book right up to date with analyses of many recent plays, as well as explorations of emerging genres and new innovations in playwriting practice.

'A brilliantly illuminating, bang-up-to-date, unmissable read' April De Angelis

'A book of real theoretical heft written by a major working playwright' Steve Waters

'An essential accompaniment for anyone fascinated by the craft of dramatic storytelling' John Yorke

'Every theatremaker should read this book' Pippa Hill, Literary Manager, Royal Shakespeare Company

'Even if you've read the book before, it demands to be reread' Simon Callow

'Combines theoretical acumen with the assured know-how of a working dramatist' Terry Eagleton, Times Literary Supplement


Blog Post: 'Plays are like the human body. What's distinctive and unique about us is on the surface, the skin, including the most particular thing of all, the human face. Although they differ a bit, in shape and proportion, our skeletons are much less distinctive. But without our skeletons holding them up, what's unique about us would consist of indistinguishable heaps of blubber on the floor.' Read David Edgar on the structures and rules of playwriting, over on our blog >>.

Press Quotes

'Fascinating... read it. You will learn a lot'

The Stage

'Lucid, deeply intelligent... combines theoretical acumen with the assured know-how of a working dramatist'

Terry Eagleton, TLS
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback, 288 pages ISBN: 9781839040313Publication Date:
19 Aug 2021
Size: 216mm x 135mm£14.99 £11.99You save £3.00 (20%)
EPUB, 288 pages ISBN: 9781788504799Publication Date:
19 Aug 2021
£14.99 £11.99You save £3.00 (20%)

Also by David Edgar:

Edgar: Shorts
Written on the Heart
The Master Builder
The Shape of the Table
If Only
Pentecost
Albert Speer
Arthur & George (stage version)
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (stage version)
Maydays & Trying It On: two plays
Daughters of the Revolution
Trying It On
A Christmas Carol (RSC stage version)
Continental Divide
Testing the Echo
Playing With Fire
Maydays (2018 version)
A Time to Keep
Mothers Against
The Prisoner's Dilemma

Go to author page...

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