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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Question for you

What do you think of the "Three Act" structure? Seen it lately? Hate it? Miss it?

Don't give a damn?


Jamespeak said...

When it's done well, I really dig it. This is probably also why I like really well-constructed trilogies.

Ian G. said...

Boy, don't see many of those anymore. I've been in some two-intermission shows and invariably when the second intermission comes a portion of the audience is confused and at least one person will ask the house manager "Is it over?" Every performance. We're conditioned to expect only one intermission. It's sometimes helpful to have two - there were two when did "Merry Wives" because any attempt to put an intermission in the middle was awkward and disruptive, and having only one would mean that one part of the performance was really short and the other incredibly long. Of course, if you have three acts, you have to able to justify it in some way besides "Well, the play's just really long". I've seen some that were merely long, ie, no one had thought intelligently about giving the play a three-part structure, and so adding an intermission simply gave the audience one extra chance to flee. But when the play needs it, it needs it.

Cat* said...

What can I say? (nods to Jimmy) To date the *best* play I have ever been in (and I mean pretty much all-round; acting, directing, writing etc... AND I got to shoot a gun :-) was written in three acts... there is No Way it would have worked in a two-act form and pretty much everyone (who wasn't so destroyed by it that they couldn't look any of us in the eye afterward) didn't even notice the "extra length"... Sure, if it's a dog no one wants to sit through a third act.. but then, once the HM answers "no it's not over" you still have 8 minutes to high-tail it out of there if need be....

Kyle said...


YS said...

I see the three act structure all the time, even in works that seem to be trying to go against it.

Eric Bentley said that Brecht railed against that type of structure, but then Bentley points out that if you look at all Brecht's plays, there is the climax, right where it is supposed to be.

Even Tom Pain, based on nothing. Inciting incident, reverses, the climax and a little denouement.

Of Course, that is if we are talking soley about structure.

If we are talking about plays that have three distinct acts with intermissions separating them, I see less and less of that.

I agree with ian g. if the play is good, you really don't mind.

I just saw a great Design for Living that had two intermissions.