Sample Script Analysis / Evaluation / Critique
P2-4 The first monologue is made up of many facts and comments about characters we have not met. Those facts and comments will be difficult to associate with the proper characters, once they enter the play.
By hitting the audience up front with the conflict, they are not able to bond with the characters and feel the character's plight through them. Instead, the audience is tempted to bring their own prejudices to the table before the main action of the play begins.
P8 Stephanie's lack of emotional response is out of character. The audience is certainly missing Stephanie's emotional life, and therefore, they are not connecting as deeply as they could with her.
P12 This monologue is pure exposition and is a vehicle used to inform the audience. Any relevant facts and comments are better presented through unfolding action.
P13 "There's no reason to target the children." These people don't care about the lives of children. What influenced Bart to say this?
P17 Something tumultuous just happened. The characters would not sit idly by as though nothing occurred. An opportunity for strong conflict is missed.
Many facts presented do not serve the play and could be eliminated.
Example: the audience does not need to know that John Arnold, a man we never meet, was born in Florida and holds a PhD in AstroPhysics. Those two facts hold no significance to any part of the play.
Every word in the play must drive the action forward to the end of the play. Eliminate all superfluous words.
P20-22 Most of Stephanie’s questions are not necessary. 3-4 sentences about what happened at the river would eliminate 3 pages of dialogue. The audience has already experienced what happened at the river. Having it all retold stops the forward moving action.
By this time, the audience should know what the protagonist wants. That is still not clear.
P26 Bart and Hank would not have shared such intimate details about their lives at this early stage. There was nothing threatening that made them confess as they did.
P27 Hank's withholding has become tedious. The repetitiousness of this type of action is now anticipated by the audience. Surprise us with another side to Hank's personality.
P26-28 So many facts, dates, and names of characters who will never enter the script. This can be overwhelming for the audience.
P35 Bart tells Stephanie he must first talk about medical procedures before telling her a story. But then he tells a story without making reference to any medical procedures.
P40 The monologue-dialogue is unnatural and would have been interrupted. Thus far, the play is fast-paced, but these suddenly long responses are weighing down the pace of the script.
P44 Don’t know if the audience knows that Mr. Welles is Bart. With so many facts, they may have forgotten what was said in the beginning of the play.
P44 The professor sent Stephanie a few letters which only Stephanie has read. Yet, her sister uses this as proof that Stephanie and the professor are a couple. Why would she jump to that conclusion?
P47 The audience knows 100% that Stephanie isn't leaving so why does she pack her clothes?
P52 There is just too much going on. The audience will get lost in all the details, some of which are never referred to again. Much of the detail is not pertinent to the story and causes the rising arc to falter. This is the third time that the audience is not involved in the emotional life of the characters. Instead, they are inundated with unnecessary facts.
P56 Hank's character-voice has been inconsistent throughout the script. At times he sounds well-educated and then uneducated.
P59 Stephanie is very ill in bed. Her sister comes in and doesn’t ask why Stephanie is in bed at 3pm, something very unusual for this early-bird riser. Her sister ignores this unusual behavior and starts chatting. This is unrealistic. Why doesn't she see how ill Stephanie is?
P68 Confused about the ending. Why is Stephanie still living in the same house? She said she had to leave by Christmas and it is nearly the following spring.
There were times, towards the end of the play, when the writer's voice broke through the characters. The confrontation scene is a primary example of what appeared to be the writer's agenda coming through as character dialogue. What was said was necessary, but needs to come through the action in a realistic way.
The relationship between Hank, Bart and Stephanie tends to flat-line at times, with mounting tension alleviated through a lot of laughter and unwarranted humor. Suggest you cut out the humor at crucial times when the stakes are high. The unfunny humor causes their relationship to flat-line along with the rising arc.
Three scenes go by before the reader really meets any of the characters. Instead we are inundated with facts which are very hard to retain since the names related to the facts are meaningless at this point.
Character-arcs for Hank and Bart are incomplete. Hank's desire to leave the town is left hanging. Bart's wants are never fully expressed.
Act I The building arc is steady. The problem is that at the end of Act I, the stakes are not high enough. More was expected, but nothing much happened after that.
Act II sounds more like a beautiful story than a play. There is very little action and conflict. A lot of telling instead of showing.
The arc builds in Act I, rises a bit in Act II, falls, remains flat, rises, and then falls again. This happens several times and then the play ends.
Rate on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 as best:
The characters are well developed 3
The story is well developed 3
The play has strong dialogue 3
The action moves the story forward 3
The tone of the play is clear 4
I care what happens to these characters 4
TOTAL SCORE: 20
DOES THE SCRIPT HAVE A DISCERNABLE ARC? YES, but the stakes are not high enough at the end of Act I. The arc wavers in Act II.
IS THIS PLAY READY FOR A READING: NO.
The script needs a rewrite to bring clarity to some of the dialogue, to deal with the wavering arc, and to further develop the relationship between characters. Act I needs to end on higher stakes.
There is a big let-down for the reader who emotionally invests in Stephanie, but then sees her give up in the final moments of the play.
The settings will make it difficult to stage the play in a small venue, which will limit the production capability of the piece.
The play requires a large venue, and with eleven actors, a producer will most likely find the budget too large to handle.