When putting together this website, I knew I wanted to include a section on synopsizing dramatic literature. First, by helping me identify the main action of the play and define the throughlines of the major characters, a synposis is useful in developing my approach to a production. Second, in my teaching I’ve come to realize that writing a good synposis or summary of a piece of dramatic literature is a daunting challenge for many students and there might be some of would benefit from some guidelines and a few examples. Third, I often find that a good synopsis inspires me to read the original work so, if you read some of my samples here and they lead you to the source, that’s a net gain for the literate universe.
Included under this heading are: Some tips for writing a good synopsis and several synopses of varying lengths for plays I have worked on as director or dramaturg, or simply written about in one context or another.
Some of these were published, some not, but since I have come to a great appreciation for the power of the synopsis, and the relative difficulty of writing a good one (particularly to a specified word count), I have included some here as examples of the form.
Additional synposes regarding the Colorado Shakespeare Festival production of Queen Margaret may be found under the Queen Margaret tab.