The set of a play is very important and a playwright needs to consider it carefully.
The set is where the action of a play takes place and important decisions must be made about it. While a set designer will have the task of realizing the set on a particular stage, the writer should resolve potential design problems on the page.
Some things a playwright needs to consider about setting:
- How does the set reflect the style of the play?
- Can the story be told in one location or must it be spread over a number of locations? The more locations, the more set changes, and the greater the logistical challenges and expense.
- If the story takes place over a number of locations, can one set accommodate the changes?
- Can a set with abstract or symbolic qualities be used to accommodate numerous locations? (Sometimes in this instance lighting or the addition of simple furniture and/or props is enough to suggest change of place.) All this, of course, depends on the style of the play.
- If numerous locations are used, how easy is it for cast and crew to move between them? For example, does the set require stage furniture? Will this furniture need to be struck (removed) during the play? (see Staging considerations)
Visualizing your set and resolving staging issues is essential for making your play more “concrete” as a performance vehicle.