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Play-writing Guidelines

A literary composition developed for the stage.


1. Only one (1) original notarized one act play, with six (6) copies of the notarized original, must be submitted two (2) weeks prior to the regional competition.  


2. The play must be an original (written only by the contestant).


3. The play must be typed and double spaced, not to exceed twenty (20) pages. A one-page synopsis must be included.


4. The top of each page must include the contestant’s name, page number and unit name and number.


5. The contestant must be prepared to answer questions by the judges.


Contestants Will Be Judged By The Following Criteria:

• Characterization (10 pts) – Is there a protagonist of some type? Is there an antagonist? Are the characters in the play developed? Are the roles defined?


• Clarity (10 pts) – Is the author’s theme and purpose clearly stated?


• Content (25 pts) – Is the subject matter or situation of the play relevant, creative, and/or controversial?


• Dialogue (10 pts) – Is the word usage or phrasing consistent with the character? Does the dialogue advance the plotline or develop the character’s background?


• Mechanics (10 pts) – Is the manuscript clearly typed? Are there errors in spelling and/or grammar? Are the stage directions clearly stated?


Are the settings and characters clearly indicated?

• Plot (25 pts) – Has the story-line been clearly defined? Has the action of the play been chronologically developed? Is there evidence of:


         a. Exposition

         b. Complication

         c. Climax

         d. Conclusion

• Style (10 pts) – Has the playwright established a definitive method or style?

NOTE: For students that qualify for the National Competition

The deadline for submission of national registration documents is the second Saturday of May. No materials or copies will be accepted after that time or at the National Competition.


Contact ACT-SO Chairman Carter Spruill for further information 

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