Dialogue Discussion

By now, you’ve (hopefully) read the three scenes from the awesome play, Topdog/Underdog. I provided a series of questions after each scene:

What is the rhythm/pace of this scene?

How can you tell? (Hint: Look at the stage directions.)

What do we learn about the brothers’ characters and points of view?

Questions from Topdog/Underdog scenes

One thing I want everyone to continue to think about is how Parks used stage directions to enhance her dialogue. Not only do the stage directions show us the emotions she wants the audience to see/feel/hear, they build a rhythm and pace to the brothers’ interactions.

Note especially the (rest) or the stacking of names to indicate that the brothers are involved in activities during conversation. Just like when you write poetry, white space in dialogue is very important.

We’ll talk about this in class, but here’s a peek at a class assignment:

Now that we’ve examined one writer’s way of creating dialogue, it’s time for you to create your own!

How will we do this?

  1. Get out your phone. Yes, a professor is telling you to do this.
  2. Go to your texts.
  3. Find a text thread where you’ve had an argument, a comedic back-and-forth, a lecture to or from a family member, even a boring “can you pick up X” conversation.
  4. Create a post titled Full Name, Dialogue 1. Save it under Dialogue.
  5. Copy and paste the text thread in the post. Add “stage directions” like Parks does and revise the conversation to make it clear to the audience who, what, when, where, why, and how. Change names! Change details! Make a fictional story from truth! Have fun with this!
  6. Find three more text threads and repeat steps 4 and 5 (obviously, change the “Dialogue 1” to “Dialogue 2” and so on.

Be sure to read this week’s Assignment page!