The Rhythm Method

January 04, 2016 by in Play Writing

The rhythm method works!  See the current Broadway production of  “King Charles III.”  The play written by Mike Bartlett in 2014 is in blank verse.  The speeches flow from one actor to another in a natural fashion.  When a speech is in prose, it is obvious and for a good reason.  Blank verse is the naural rhythm for the English language, likely one reason why Shakespeare is still engaging after 400 years, and why many are awestruck reading the King James Version of the Bible with its beautiful language after using other translations.

I find writing in blank verse very natural.  Its cadence also is conducive to memorizing lines.  Interestingly when I add a segment of prose writing in one of my plays, the actors often have more trouble with the prose lines than the lines written with blank verse.  Actors have said to me, “These lines feel stiff” and “They’re hard to get my head around.”

Playwrights, look at your lines in your last play.  Are your best lines in blank verse?  Do you use the rhythm method in your writing?

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