Will Dunne, author of The Dramatic Writer’s Companion and Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, breaks down three award-winning plays in his recent book The Architecture of Story. Through close analysis of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt: A Parable, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog, and Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, Dunne helps playwrights master the keys of dramatic storytelling.
Every chapter highlights a crucial component of storytelling, such as “Emotional Environment,” “Story Arc and Main Event” “Characters,” and “Dramatic Focus.” These chapters end with a list of questions aimed to help the writer analyze his own draft script.
“The approach of this guide is not to “critique” the three plays chosen nor to assess their social impact or place in theatre history. The approach is rather to dismantle the stories and examine their key components from a technical point of view so that you can approach your own work with a more informed understanding of dramatic architecture and the possibilities it offers,” explains Dunne.