A creative playwright will select the kind of subject he really wants to and he will be brimful of his own ideas. These ideas will keep beating at his brain until he puts them on paper. Then he decide which idea is most susceptible to treatment for the theatre. In a sense the theatre is capable of dealing with a kind of subject no matter how fantastic, realistic, spiritual or political.
It has room for expansion and for explanation of all kinds of religious phenomena, philosophical thought, and the vulgarities of humanity as well as its highest aspirations. The playwright will naturally choose the subject which is closest to his heart.
It would be a mistake to assume that each and every idea can be written in a play form. A subject which calls for enormous quantities of scenery should be ruled out. Or write a play for stage without using scenery at all.
The kind of subject that is usually best suited is one in which there is a major situation or situations involving conflict between characters of groups of characters; or between characters and their destiny. This would build in conflict, interest, or intensity leading to some sort of conclusion. A typical example is the conflict between Hamlet, his uncle and mother. This ended in tragedy for all three. Often an individual may be in conflict with himself.
In the first part of Hamlet his irresolution plays a part of his character. In
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, a play about the fate of a small Jewish family which lived in hiding in Amsterdam during the period of the Nazi tracking, conflict was with fate. The Nazi discover their hiding place and capture them and finally overwhelms them with death. No matter what the subject a play must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Today a play should have a rapid beginning, a middle which builds in excitement and an end which completes the play.
In a drama or tragedy scene after scene of mounting interest build up tension until a point is reached when the play attains its highest moment of excitement. These plays are most interesting when the audience is able to perceive that the events which take place in one scene are responsible for the events which take place in the next, or later scenes. In comedy the mounting scenes are piled one on top of the other in succession until a hilarious climax is achieved. In all cases the resolution which arrives toward the end of the play constitutes an ending which satisfies the audience by reason. There must be an understanding of the human spirit in the case of high tragedy, or the solution, or suggestion of a solution, of the human problems involved in the case of comedy.
Authors can enlarge a subject by including an important theme. In the present era dealing with problems of life can be seriously dealt with in drama. It is good to remember that many plays have included themes but magnificent plays have been written without them. For instances, Shakespeare teaches a great deal about human beings through the characterization of individuals, although none of them show his point of view toward the social problems of his day.