A Shakespearean Tale

Wright or Write or Right? When the Play’s the Thing, Which is It?

Shakespeare was a writer of plays. So, was he a playwrite? A playright? Or a playwright?

It certainly seems that “write” would be correct, because that’s what a playwright does — he writes. Right?

But a writer of plays is someone who creates — or sometimes repairs, rewrites or reconstructs — something specific (a play). He or she builds or constructs a play. A “wright” is someone who creates, builds, or repairs something specified. The word derives from Old English wryhta or wyrhta. You see it used for professions such as shipwright or wheelwright.

According to Merriam-Webster, the first known use of the word playwright was in the year 1616, which was the year Shakespeare died.

Thus, the writer of plays is a playwright, but the action of creating a play is called, in modern English, playwriting (just like screenwriting).

So, now you know what’s right! Right?

Playwrights and Play Actors

Unhand Me Desdemona

“Let’s play like….”

Remember, as a young kid, this wonderful suggestion that inevitably unleashed your child’s enthusiastic and unfettered imagination? It brought such fun and richness to what then seemed like a long day.

A play “wright” must retain and nourish this “child’s imagination” that allows a soul to “dream up,” describe, and give voice to whatever characters populate a particular plot, and whatever actions and outcomes drive that plot.

But it’s the actor who must ultimately “play like” — who must breathe life into the characters and situations that make up a script. The actor is the essential “tool” of the play “wright,” who hammers out the right words to tell the story. A play may be read — and some scripts are more suited to this than others — but it is always the actor who truly makes a character live, at least for the space of a performance.

The actor and the writer have a mutually dependent relationship — one requires the other, though each is independent. A director may serve as an additional, independent “tool,” interpreting the writer’s words and conveying that vision to the actor. Such a director brings an additional imagination to the mix. Occasionally, the writer is the director. Both situations are good. They give a script a variety of “lives” on the stage.

A writer’s heart cherishes the good actors who embrace a script’s characters and allow audiences the opportunity to experience and enjoy the writer’s creations.

When you act out a character, you are bringing your own imagination to that character and the plot. You are the ultimate communicator and entertainer in the relationship between writer and audience. The writer, director, and audience depend completely on you. You are important!

Fiddlin’ Fun with Shakespeare!

Our Fancy Fiddler

Our homeschool co-op drama classes did the test run on A Shakespearean Tale and did a fun and amazing job! We say amazing because these kids get ridiculously little time to rehearse, but manage the miracle of rising to the challenge of a pretty big production.

We have two drama classes — 3rd through 6th and 7th through 12th, with actors and singers ranging from 9 to 18. They tackled 7 songs, a little Shakespeare, and a lot of comedy.

Surrey Gas Station Gang

Our guitar and keyboard carried the musical day until we got to Stratford Corners, Alabama, where we were treated to the fancy fiddling of professional musician George Merritt. Thanks, George! The show ended with a little country swing dancing, with the cast invading the audience.

We played a trick on the cast when Rosie made her entrance with a rather large “bun in the oven.” Her very surprised stage husband, Will Surrey, rolled right with it and the audience had some good laughs.

Look for more pictures on our auditions page.

Make Your Own Kind of Music!

Live Music Productions by FFPWe’re prejudiced. We like live music.

Not just because we’re musicians, but because there’s nothing like live music and musicians “on the spot” to inspire a performer and enliven an audience.

It makes the director happy because the performance is adjustable in so many ways: the musicians can follow the singers, the music can be dialed back for weaker singers or tender moments, and the musicians can adjust the scene-changing music to whatever reality presents itself, and so on.

Every production we have ever done, wherever we’ve been, has been with our own varying combinations of guitar, keyboard, drums, and bass players. And sometimes trumpet, violin, banjo, or fiddle players. They’ve always managed to be available, either within our own group, or closely associated.

The music in this summer’s A Shakespearean Tale will be live, complete with fiddle.

It’s a great experience for the singers to get to perform with a live band. And it certainly does a lot for the audience!