Prof. Jessica Penner | OL02 | Spring 2021

Week 14: Dialogues in drama (and other genres), continued

By now, you’ve 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?

During class on Thursday, I will ask you to go to your assigned scenes and write your answers in the “reply” section of this post.

  • Cohorts 1 & 2 are assigned the questions for Scene 1.
  • Cohorts 3 & 4 are assigned the questions for Scene 2.
  • Cohorts 5 & 6 are assigned the questions for Scene 3.

Be sure to state which scene you are commenting on and read other comments before you respond. If you notice that someone in your group has already responded with your answer, you can say “I agree with X, but I’d like to add X” or “I disagree with X, I think X.”

One thing I want everyone to continue to think about is how Parks used stage directions to enhance her dialogue, as I mentioned in last week’s Announcement. 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.

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.
  7. Have all four dialogues ready to share with your Cohort by Thursday’s class!

Be sure to read Week 14’s Assignment page!


  1. Jeffrey

    Scene 3.
    The pace is pretty slow since it’s just 2 friends talking to each other about what happened today. Lincoln is literally lazing around, waiting for Booth to come home to help with his act. The stage directions also make it feel very slow and casual because nobody’s rushing to get anything done. Lincoln asks for help, Booth brags about the sex he had, and then they go to sleep at the end. The scene overall shows that Booth is very proud of having sex and generally likes power tripping, such as when he asks what gun suits him. Lincoln on the other hand is very grounded and is currently worried about being replaced in his job, which is a very real thing to worry about, even nowadays.

  2. DeAndre Badresingh

    To me, the pace of Scene 1 would be fast because the Lincoln and Booth started talking about hustling and then moved on to playing a song on the guitar. We can see they have two different points of views and they both think they are doing the right thing.

  3. Jason Jordan

    In scene 2 the pace is fast paced based on the stage directions. They were laughing and gulping down drinks simultaneously. We learned that the brothers are celebrating about the money they have and booth stole some clothes for them.

  4. JoharM

    Scene 2
    – The rhythm and pace is pretty lighthearted and has a natural flow to it.
    – This can be scene as the brothers take a swig with a hearty laugh and how Lincoln is in no rush to get things going.
    – We learn a bit about how each brother likes to make a living. One on the somewhat skillful card side and another on the boosted side.

  5. Will

    Scene 3
    1/ Seemed like it was going at a decently fast pace for a conversation with the interruptions from Link.
    2/ Link was interrupting with questions it seemed like he needed answers for. The brothers also exchanged quite a few lines before a ‘rest’ was taken to slow down a bit.
    3/ The brother’s are willing to talk about their days with no troubles. Booth is willing to talk about his good day and Link doesn’t mind it. Booth will go all in detail, but Link seems to be a straight shooter. Link might be interested in the best points of the story and nothing else. Towards the end, Booth knows Link isn’t into all the details but Link was willing to hear him out.

  6. Ralph Ayala

    The pace seems fast because of the shouting Booth was doing to Lincoln “YOU STANDING IN MAY WAY, LINK!”. However, the dialogue uses the word “Rest” as if the pace is attempting to go slow. Booth is a hustler for money to make a living while Lincoln does not agree with continuing to be a hustler because he wishes to perform honest work.

  7. Amani

    Scene #2
    1. The pace of this scene is fast and upbeat. The brothers are full of excitement now that they have this money and are celebrating it bu having a drink. Their response time to each other is rather quick.
    2. I can tell the pace is fast because the brothers are laughing a lot and even slap their knee from all the joy they had. They’re very joyous as Booth dances around.
    3. From this scene I can tell that this is the first time in a while the brothers have had this much money. They cheers to all the good things that can come from this money and Lincoln even suggests that Booth should budget it out, which tells me that he is thinking responsibly.

  8. Anna Chen

    Anna Chen, Scene 1:
    I think this scene was meant to be a little funny but also a scene of realization for Booth. He’s going through some rough times and Lincoln tries to comfort him by teaching him life lessons and singing about it.

  9. Joselin

    Scene 3:
    The rhythm or pace of the scene was normal, there were some rests between the conversation but it wasn’t overly slow or too fast. It was just a regular conversation between the brothers. They only took small pauses but then began to pick up the pace again. The brothers like to have fun and share their experiences with each other. They talked about their love life and the things they do with their partners.

  10. Fnu Janvi

    1. Group 3, Scene 2. The rhyme of this scene is very fast as the speakers used said bringitherebringithere. Also, there is not Rest between dialogues by that you can say it’s a fast and short conversation. Both brothers have different points of view and different choices and tastes.

  11. Janeth Vinanzaca

    Scene 3
    This scene seems calm, like an average day. There are no details that would indicate a rush or stressful time. Real life situations/conversations are happening to Lincoln and Booth. Lincoln brags about his sex life now, and Booth is concerned about probably needing a new job. Overall this scene shows what an average day/conversation you would have or hear outside.

  12. Nelson Tavarez

    What is the rhythm/pace of this scene?
    The pace seems smooth no stops in between the conversation. Although the characters took a rest at certain times.
    How can you tell? (Hint: Look at the stage directions.)
    The way the brothers held the conversation they and spoke it felt like no break when they were speaking. Booth would rest but lincoln had an unending barrage of replies.
    What do we learn about the brothers’ characters and points of view?
    The older brother acted like an older brother in the sense that he told stories to his younger brother but at the same time wasn’t telling more than he needed to. The younger brother jumping from his seat wanting to hear the whole story.

  13. BensonH

    Scene One
    What is the rhythm/pace of this scene?
    Seems fairly slow with long dialogues and rests. Even when it moves to shorter dialogue it still seems fairly slow
    How can you tell? (Hint: Look at the stage directions.)
    A lot of (rests) and actions
    What do we learn about the brothers’ characters and points of view?
    They clearly have two different views where one is having a tough time and the other seems to not think too much of it

  14. Moose

    Scene 2: The rhythm and pace of this scene is that the narrator sounds angry at this brother.
    I say he’s angry which is why his pacing in words is fast because he changes the topic quickly when he says the dress shoes are too loud which makes him sounds stressed out then calls the hit cheap. Then he says cheap lightbulb above my head which can show that he’s angry at the boss with the dress shoes. We can learn about the point of view that the brothers may have competition with each other because of the criticism.

  15. Sheely Menendez

    scene 2
    scene 2, gives a sense of cheerful, since they go out to celebrate and they are really excited.
    I feel is a little rush I mean the celebration they are in the moment happy
    from this scene I can tell they are really happy and they are happy to be able to have this amount of money and that why they celebrate

  16. Alexsis

    The pace for scene 1 seems fast because the two characters seem to be arguing. I can tell because there are long paragraphs that come off as ranting. There is also a point in the dialogue where words are written in caps which implies yelling and anger. We learn that the brothers don’t seem to see eye to eye so they may be very different

  17. Jordan Bailey

    Scene #1
    I think this scene is slow paced because they are just talking. I learn that the brothers have different point of views as one of the is more critical about things than the other.

  18. Nuha

    scene 1
    the rhyme of this scene is quiet; both brothers are just concern about each other.
    Both brothers have different POVs about their life. Booth seems Harding working and hustle about life, unlike Lincoln.

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