On writing my first stage play

As many to none of you know, I’m adapting an old screenplay I wrote about 12 years ago to a stage play. My wife has encouraged me to do it many times over the years, but I’ve always managed to come up with an excuse not to do it. She finally convinced me after we went to a wonderful play in Laguna Beach called The Pianist of Willesden Lane. The play is nothing like my screenplay, mind you. It was just so inspiringly good that I finally saw the possibilities of adapting my work for the stage.

I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t know the proper structure of a play, nor do I know the accepted formatting. I’ve searched the internet, but I was surprised to learn that there really is no consensus on what a play should look like in written form. I found myself getting more confused as I researched so I stopped.

Right now I’m just writing, and it has been a blast revisiting these old characters. My adaptation so far includes about 10% of the original material. The dialogue has completely changed. The gender of some of the characters has changed. It’s strange how willing I’ve been to divorce myself from the old material. I honestly feel like I know these characters better now than when I wrote it more than a decade ago. The theme and tone are the same, but other than that it’s basically new material.

In short, I’m having fun. If you have suggestions on the proper way to format a stage play, please feel free to let me know. The Pianist of Willesden Lane is has moved off-Broadway in New York. If you’re in the city, I encourage you to go see it.

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