I’m noticing a trend that I wanted to share. It seems like the contemporary plays I’m reading have much more scenes than the older ones. For example:
Bethany – 2013 – 10 scenes (and only 43 pages!)
She Kills Monsters – 2011 – 17 scenes
Reasons to be Pretty – 2008 – 8 scenes (with 4 optional monologues)
Long Day’s Journey into Night – 1956 – 5 scenes
Streetcar Named Desire – 1947 – 11 scenes (in 3 acts)
The Little Foxes – 1939 – 3 scenes
In addition, the transition between scenes of the contemporary plays feel like “cuts” as opposed to self contained story units. My guess is that this is the influence of film/television on theatre. Honestly, I don’t like it. She Kills Monsters for example feels like it wants to be movie.
I think this also separates the films of someone like Quentin Tarantino, from his peers. Inglourious Basterds certainly feels like a play with its long scenes of endless dialogue.