The Playwright’s Process into History Detectives

By Kurt Dana Maxey

Writing a play is the continual process of writing and re-writing.  Playwrights tend to strive for a perfection that might not ever exist.  Since man is not perfect, how can we expect such for a play?  What is viewed as a universal truth by one person might not be seen that way by another.  Let me be perfectly clear about one thing:  It is the playwright’s responsibility to affect the hearts and minds of his audience.  They must leave the theater feeling something.

When I first got into The Robey Theatre Playwright’s Program, it was divided into morning and afternoon sessions.  The morning session was conducted by Aaron Henne.  Participants consisted of writers, wanting to learn about playwriting and newly declared playwrights who yearned to hone their craft vis-à-vis writing exercises.  These exercises focused on such things as dialogue, character development, situations, and various double-dingers to loosen up the flow of your writing.

The afternoon session was conducted by Dylan Southard, dramaturge.  The focus would be on the construction of the play. The eventual goal would be a table read of the playwright’s work, once the play felt completed by its writer.  Perhaps some procedures have changed within the lab, but the concepts remain the same!

If a playwright finds a questionable matter dealing with a culture, incident or subject they become a “History Detective.”  See how easy that was? You utilize the power of investigation.

Here are five words that will help you in being a good detective – how, what, when, where and why.

I have the ancestry of three cultures in my veins.  You have my word that many folks who consider themselves as of a specific ancestry or class might have to re-consider some aspect of their lives.  This city is and always will be a melting pot.

The Playwright's Process into History Detectives

Kurt Dana Maxey – Writer

The purpose of the Robey Theater’s “History Detectives” is for you to tell a story that hopefully can be adapted into the format of a short play – YOUR PLAY!  The main requirement is that the play is located in the city of Los Angeles.  We listen and make constructive suggestions.  Remember that your story is not for the purpose of competition.  Robey “History Detective’s” just wants to help you learn about the craft of playwriting.  While going through this process, you will learn more about yourself.  The more you know; the better.