Wonderful in its simplicity, this approach can be used to analyze or strengthen even the most irreverent of theatrical works.
1. Stasis/Stability – the state of things at the beginning of the play, status quo
2. Intrusion/Interference – a new, disruptive element that unleashes forces which drive the play from that point on
3. Obstacle – anything standing in the way of the character having what he or she wants
4. Conflict – the war between the motivation (what the character wants) and the obstacle
5. Return to Stasis/Stability – a state in which forces no longer conflict
Introduce these components to students, asking that they identify each component in their favorite plays or movies. They—and you—may be surprised at how well the pieces fit.
Next, have your students try this playwriting exercise, employing this approach.