Playwright’s Corner


Let’s go through the building blocks of a play. They consist of theme, setting, characters, plot, conflict, climax and resolution. First of all, you must have a theme. The theme or premise of the story is the reason you want to write the story in the first place. What is there about a certain situation or character that could inspire you to write a story? What would drive a man whose family is feuding with another to pursue a romance with the enemy of his family? What would drive a man to kill in order to gain the throne? Love and greed are the driving forces in these tales. I’m sure you recognized the themes in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and “MacBeth.”

When I wrote “‘Tis All a Game of Chance,” a musical that is set in the late 17th century, I was inspired by the title of a children’s story called, “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.” It’s one of Aesop’s Fables. Each mouse visits the other’s domain. Although there is danger in both environments, each mouse has learned how to circumvent the adversaries on his own home turf but finds the unexpected life-threatening dangers on his cousins’ turf overwhelming. Each appreciates his own home more than ever.

However, in “‘Tis All a Game of Chance,” I have one man trying to live a duplicitous life successfully in both town and country. Don Giovanni is a proud Roman merchant who resides in the city of Rome with his spoiled wealthy wife. Henpecked and resentful that his wife is still a daddy’s girl, he finds the admiration and obedience he seeks in his much younger wife, who’s recently inherited her family’s prosperous winery. The story takes place in the span of a day when both the Roman harvest festival and Giovanni’s 15th wedding anniversary will be celebrated. His city wife is distraught that her famous family heirloom that she has planned to wear at the anniversary celebration is missing. Anxious to retrieve the heirloom from his innocent and unsuspecting country wife, Giovanni devises a plan to secure the diamond and have her true love arrested for theft.

But alas! As luck will have it, our anti-hero must tackle an onslaught of hapless obstacles to secure the veil upon which his duplicitous lifestyle is cloaked.

All is fair in love and lies? ‘Tis All a Game of Chance is a comedy set in Renaissance Italy in the sprawling beauteous capital of Rome and the fictitious pastoral setting of the Marcello Vineyard, a place festooned with vegetation, beauty and deception.

Published by Malanna Carey Henderson

Malanna Carey Henderson is a Detroit native who presently resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her adoptive city is rich in history. America's early colonial period and four major battles of the Civil War have marked its landscape. George Washington, his mother, sister, and brother-in-law attended the same church of which Malanna is a member. As a child, Malanna was an avid reader. Her favorite genres were biographies, mysteries, and historical fiction. The more books she read, the greater the urge to write grew. Malanna's creative attributes encompass playwriting, composing music, and singing. She has won two first-place awards for her one-act plays. On the Wings of Freedom is a book that combines several genres: a quest for social justice, adventure, and romance. The backdrop is 19th-century America. Here, the legal practices of the antebellum south are tested against the principles of freedom and democracy. On the Wings of Freedom is Malanna's first novel.

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