Friday, March 16, 2007

What is a Draft?

Once, I posed this question in a playwriting network to which I belong:

What is considered a draft?

We hear anecdotes of how such and such a playwright wrote 20 drafts of this or that play before it finally was produced.

But I have always wondered what is the difference between a draft as compared to say..a revision, (that might not even be the right term.) This probably boils down to personal opinion, but I would like to hear what people think. How much change to a play constitutes a "draft?"

I had an informal reading of a play I am working on a couple of weeks ago, and I have rewritten the play based on my own observations at that reading combined with the valuable feedback I received. I have a more formal reading set up for March 24th and we are having rehearsals this weekend for that reading.

Last night, I sent out the copy we will use for the rehearsals, and as I reviewed it I saw that while it is essentially the same play, I did make a some significant changes. Here are just some of them:

1. An opening monologue that the protaganist speaks to the audience has been cut and/or distributed througout the play.

2. One significant character has been removed and some of his attributes and dialogue have been folded into another character.

3. A scene has been completely cut.

4. A minor character has been completely eliminated along with whole scene in which he appeared.

5. Dialogue and beats have been tightened throughout.

Looking at the play last night, I am tempted to call this a new Draft, but would that be accurate? It is the same play, with the same arc, just tighter, more focused and trimmed down. The structure has been altered a little, but is this a revision more than a draft?

Not a super important question, but I thought I would throw it out there.

1 comment:

Skybar said...

I'd consider any version up to an "official debut" (first full production of a play, publishing a book or article, turning in a paper) a "draft," and any subsequent version a "revision."