1776 and Trying NOT to Get That Laugh


Being laughed at for something we take seriously is a more or less universal fear, but it is especially potent in storytelling because often the integrity of an entire scene or even of the entire work can hinge on a moment not being interrupted by unwanted laughter. If you are a playwright, however, you do have one final recourse Рnot an ideal one, by any stretch Рin the form of the players in whose mouths your words have been placed.

Author and playwright Jean Kerr once said, Its very embarrassing to say to an actor, please try not to get that laugh. This reminded me of one of the best examples I have ever seen of needing to overcome the comedy in the material, and it happens to come from one of my nostalgic favorites: the musical 1776.

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