Like most Canadian playwrights of his generation, John Lazarus figured out the craft on his own. In doing that, he discovered a technique involving a dual approach: constructing plot on the one hand and improvising dialogue on the other. He’s been using that technique since 1977 and teaching it to others since 1990, and it works–for himself and for generations of Canada’s most successful theatre creators. In this book, John explains each of these “Two Ways” in detail, explaining why your characters won’t invent your story for you, how to construct a plot using cause-and-effect, and how to refine your dialogue for the actors by chewing on it yourself first. He also guides the reader through other aspects of the profession–from current issues around creativity, originality and cultural appropriation, to nuts-and-bolts concerns like script submissions, workshops, readings, rehearsals and opening nights. Informed by over 50 years of professional experience as an award-winning Canadian playwright, teacher and critic, and delivered with John’s breezy, informal style and sense of humour, Two Ways About It will give the beginner a dependable way into the profession and offer the more experienced playwright new and refreshing approaches to the art form.
About the Author
John Lazarus grew up in Montreal, graduated from the National Theatre School’s Acting program in 1969, and then worked in Vancouver as an actor, advertising copywriter, TV and radio broadcaster, critic, screenwriter, playwright and teacher. He taught Playwriting and Solo Show Techniques for 10 years at Vancouver’s Studio 58, and in 2000 moved to Kingston, where he taught over 2,500 drama students at Queen’s University, until retiring in 2021. John’s own plays, produced across Canada and around the world, include Babel Rap, Dreaming and Duelling, Village of Idiots, The Late Blumer, Homework & Curtains, Genuine Fakes, The Nightingale, Medea’s Disgust, Rough Magic, Trouble on Dibble Street, The Grandkid, and his series of plays for children, published under the title Not So Dumb. He lives in Kingston with his wife, Lin, and they have children and grandchildren in Toronto and Vancouver.