Writing a play: rhythm in actions that change characters

When confronted with the definition of a play as a system of time, place, relations and actions, Lavery emphasizes that theatre is a collaborative thing. It is a synthesis of actors, lighting, movement and nothing should happen twice. As a playwright Lavery tries to underwrite what needs to be necessary there. Lavery prefers to describe a play as a system of words and silences and movement and light.

Fundamental to theatre are actions that change characters and relations are built through these actions in theatre. Plays are about characters, who are changed by what they do. Plays have speech, actions and activities. Actions have to be there, because they change people. Activities, like having a cup of tea, are not necessary because they do not reveal the actor’s story. A character getting up to make a cup of tea is inherently uninteresting and that’s an activity, Lavery explains. A character getting up to make a cup of tea because they don’t want to talk about what’s happening or that they want to get away from this person here that they loathe, or this person who they’re secretly in love with. Then, you know, if you know that’s happening, then that’s interesting. And that’s theatre and that’s hard to do.

Scenes have objectives. For example in this scene Hamlet discovers his mother is lying to him. It can happen in words or it can happen in actions. There have to be guide rules of character and actions. In a play nothing should be there, that does not have to be in there.
In the writing process and eventually in the play, Lavery leaves spaces in how people are talking. Her characters don’t talk in sentences, they have different sizes of space, or long gaps of silence, in which a change of thought can be felt. It implies that something specifically is happening, something mentally or physically is happening between the end of one word and the beginning of the next. Lavery argues that there has to be an in-between space for something physically to happen.
For Lavery the body is the instrument that records it all and is affected by it all. Whatever we see or whatever we witness has an effect on our brains, our bodies, our heat, our everything. That’s the relationship between being witness and the body. Even in today’s context, in which we have so much communication without body embodiment, the body still is the instrument that records it all.