How do you write a three act play or story? Consider a baseball game. It is the ultimate three act play.
Think about this. In the first act, you introduce the audience to the setting, the characters and the conflict.
In the first two innings of any baseball game you meet the characters. The announcer tells you the weakness and strengths of the protagonist ( the pitcher) . He is just coming back from arm surgery, his main pitch is the sinker, if he leaves it up, he tends to get hammered, he had been having control problems, but when he can hit the corners with his fastball, he is unhittable.
Then the announcer tells you about the other characters, the antagonists, the hitters, there are nine of them, and the announcer tells the strengths and weaknesses of each hitter, quick hands, tends to ground out, can’t hit the curve —
And each hero (the pitcher) has a supporting army, his infield and the outfield. Again the announcer introduces, in the first two innings, the entire cast of characters, often including managers and umpires.
And of course Act One introduces the conflict. A lone hero (The Pitcher) with support from his army faces the enemy (the hitters) who seek to kill him, or at least drive him from the kingdom (the ballpark)
The hero (Pitcher) of course depends on what team you are rooting for. Let’s hope it is not the Red Sox.
As an aside, the pitcher often has a back story and comes from a long line of heroes, Cy Young, Sandy Koufax — .
In Act Two the story develops through a series of complications and obstacles, each leading to a mini crisis. To survive to the end, the hero (the pitcher) or his army (the infield and outfield) must overcome these complications.
For example, there is one out, bases loaded. Can the pitcher get the antagonist to ground out, hit into a double play, thus ending the crisis or at least the inning? Or will the batter hit a home run, making things look bleak for our hero and his army?
Like any good play, the pitcher does not emerge unscathed, he has been scarred and wounded by hits. Men in his army have been wounded, hit by balls, twisted ankles, even sacrificed themselves by throwing their bodies against brick walls to catch fly balls.
The final show-down. The gunfight in the middle of Dodge. Bases loaded. To solve the conflict, to win the game, it boils down to the final antagonist (hitter) and the hero (pitcher). One will live, one will die. There are two outs, the scoring run is on third. If the batter gets a hit, his army wins and the pitcher is vanquished. If the pitcher can kill the batter, get him out, his army will win.
How will it turn out?
There you have it. Baseball – the perfect three act play. And to think that English teachers use Shakespeare or the Greeks to teach the three part dramatic structure.
Heck, have the class watch a Yankee- Red Sox game. It will teach the same thing, plus the class might learn some new vocabulary when the manager gets thrown out of the game.
One final thought – what is a stadium but a big amphitheater?