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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: June ::
How long to write a play?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0395  Thursday, 21 June 2007

[1] 	From: 	Carol Barton <
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	Date: 	Monday, 18 Jun 2007 20:36:31 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0386 How long to write a play?

[2] 	From: 	Tom Rutter <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 19 Jun 2007 11:21:00 +0100
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0386 How long to write a play?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Carol Barton <
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Date: 		Monday, 18 Jun 2007 20:36:31 -0400
Subject: 18.0386 How long to write a play?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0386 How long to write a play?

I agree with Colin: indeed, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

As with all other compositions, a play takes as long to write as it 
takes. There is no "timeline." It's finished when the point we set out 
to make, or the message that we wanted to project, is clear . . . and 
not a nanosecond before or after.

Best to all,
Carol Barton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Tom Rutter <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 19 Jun 2007 11:21:00 +0100
Subject: 18.0386 How long to write a play?
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0386 How long to write a play?

Another testimony worth remembering is that in the Prologue to Volpone, 
where Jonson refers to those who, when Jonson's

plays come forth, think they can flout them,
With saying, he was a year about them.
To these there needs no lie, but this his creature,
Which was, two months since, no feature;
And though he dares give them five lives to mend it,
'Tis known, five weeks fully penned it:
 >From his own hand, without a co-adjutor,
Novice, journeyman, or tutor.

(from G. A. Wilkes's edn)

Clearly this needs to be treated with extreme caution, but I suppose it 
implies on the one hand that a year was considered a ludicrously long 
time to spend writing a play, and on the other that five weeks was the 
bare minimum that a playwright with pretensions to artistic superiority 
might realistically claim. (Jonson says the time he took is common 
knowledge - ' 'Tis known'.)

Tom Rutter.

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