Writing a Radio Play
This activity is intended to follow the sessions on ‘Dialogue’, in which we saw how much we can convey in dialogue in stories. See:
Now the members are going to tell a story virtually all in dialogue by writing a radio play.
They should read the following before the session:
They are going to be given a list of characters and the opening of a radio play which is intended to be broadcast in two parts. They must write the first part, hopefully leaving us wanting more!
Writer’s End (working title)
List of characters:
Members of a writing group
- Bernard (62) – writing group coordinator – before taking early retirement he was the Head of a small public school. He likes order and rules but has a good sense of humour.
- Janine (33) – the youngest member of the group, on benefits, due to a disability resulting from an accident. She has a lot of restless energy and has looked for ways to fill her time including the writing group, a psychic developing circle, guitar-lessons, and on-line games.
- Andrew (67) – retired, worked in pharmaceuticals, a career which brought him some satisfaction and a good standard of living but little opportunity for artistic expression.
- Caroline (70) – young for her age, in looks and attitude, she comes along for the social interaction and a bit of mental simulation.
- Bella (early sixties going on 22) – a lady of slightly faded glamour, she has no children but makes vague references to several ex-husbands and a colourful life and is self centred but good hearted.
- Josh (43) – an earnest young man who sometimes seems a bit naive but he has two children and a wife he adores. He is a joiner/carpenter and clever with his hands. He seriously wants to succeed as a writer.
- Marian (63) – married to Andrew. Unassuming but rattles off short stories, which she sells to magazines, and is actually quite shrewd.
- Helen (49) – a lady of many artistic talents, including performing her own poetry. Married with two girls, she is frequently unable to make it to the group. She is quietly spoken and rather reticent about her personal history. (She does not appear in Act 1 but the listeners should be aware of her existence)
You may introduce other characters who are not part of the writing group and you must decide who turns up to the meeting(s), as not all of the members may be there at once. Try to have no more than 6 or 7 maximum ‘on stage’ at once.
The play opens with the sound of keys rattling and a door being opened. It is early evening around the beginning of April. Bernard, marian and Josh arrive at the same time for their Creative Writing Group meeting. There are a few greetings and muttered remarks about it being chilly and the room being fusty as they get the door open.
Bernard – Leave the door open a bit, the others won’t be long.
Marian – Andrew’s just parking the car. I’ll get the lights. Josh did you bring the biscuits?
Josh – I’ll put the kettle on. I got Garibaldi for a change.
Bernard – Hmmph , what’s wrong with a packet of custard creams?
It’s dark because the clocks have gone back Marian. I have some ―
(Sound of someone stumbling/bumping into something)
Oh, bloody hell! What’s this? Get those lights on.
Here you, what are you doing here?
Marian – Who is it Bernard? Oh! Josh, come here, there’s someone asleep on the floor!
Josh – Hang on a minute. Don’t touch him Marian.
Marian – Is he hurt?
Bernard – No, I rather think it’s worse than that. He appears to be dead.
Write for 20 -30 minutes
Discuss the exercise and share and discuss the plays so far.
Finish/continue for homework,
Share and discuss Part 1 and write/start Part 2.
A further session: Write a review of one of the radio plays. Imagine you are a reviewer for the radio company; make it sound good, grab your audience!
Category: Group sessions. Tags: Creative writing,Dialogue,Openings