The principles and processes of writing the prequel for the stage
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This study serves as the first in-depth analysis of the prequel. In this professional problem in playwriting, I bring into focus a taxonomy that explains the elements of dramatic structure that define a prequel by examining selected examples from antiquity to the twenty-first century. I explored what attracts individuals to create prequels by analyzing the prequels and the sources from which they are derived; in the cases of contemporary playwrights, I found materials pertaining to why they attempted such endeavors. I want to determine the processes involved in constructing prequels and the measures needed to successfully develop them, including continuity of plot, character, and given circumstances. I wrote a prequel based on one of my original plays in order to creatively explore these processes. My fascination with writing prequels began when I decided to write a play about the back stories of my characters in Red Tape. Having spent a great deal of work on these back stories, I wanted to flesh them out for the stage. This idea resulted in the writing and production of a prequel: Sex, Money, and the Corporate Ladder. This play received a staged reading and a production that allowed reflection upon audience criticism, leading to revisions to the conclusion of the play. This opportunity provided insights into independent and dependent prequels. This study includes a guide to formulating a prequel based on these experiences. My study contends that a play written for the stage, able to serve as a prequel, remains a prequel regardless of audience awareness, authorship, author’s intention, capacity for independent production, critical scholarship, production sequence, and translation. I argue that once the dramaturgical demands constituting a prequel are present, the aforementioned factors do not nullify the play as a prequel.