I have been trying, with limited success, to start writing a play -- a farce really (the type of play, not the effort) -- and I've found it's very, very difficult. A farce operates on very different rules than a standard comedy, or any play, for that matter: it must be set up with the precision of a Swiss watch, plotted to within an inch of its life and should, if it's successful, leave its audience laughing so hard they gasp for breath. (The actors, too, should be gasping, but more from their exertions onstage.) I've seen several definitions, but one says something to the effect that a farce begins when Character A tells Character B that everything will be all right as long as Character C doesn't show up. Then there's a knock on the door and it's... Character C.
Anyway, I went to the Internet to search "farce plots" and was directed to an article in a blog by Ken Levine, named one of the best 25 blogs of 2011 by TIME Magazine.. I'll let his brief profile speak for itself:
Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league
baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has
worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES
RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series
including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner
wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS.
Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore
Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres. and has hosted Dodger Talk
on the Dodger Radio Network.
The article on farce was short, but sweet and, while there I took the opportunity to look through some of his other posts. Suffice to say, he's a terrific writer and covers the showbiz/Hollywood/pop culture scene brilliantly. There's lots of insider stuff about, for example, M*A*S*H -- the writing, the filming, the actors. Stuff, as they say, you won't find anywhere else.
Check out the following and see if you don't agree: