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Worst Opening Line Contest

I received dozens of wonderful entries so it’s taken a long time to decide on a winner. Thanks to everyone who sent their opening line - a lot of them would actually make a really good opening line for a play. Maybe you should keep writing!


The opening line in a play should do several things:


•   It should indicate that something is wrong, something is out of balance, something needs fixing.

•   It should demand a response.

•   It should let us know that what is going to happen will be serious.

•   It should plunge us into the midst of something that is happening.


So the worst opening line should do none of those things.


Here are a few examples of great opening lines from plays that we’ve produced at Shaker Bridge Theatre.


From Outside Mullingar -

An old man and a younger man enter into a messy and dirty old farmhouse. As they take off their rain-soaked coats, the younger man speaks.



Jesus, what an experience. My heart feels like a stone. It’s a physical sensation.



From How The World Began -

A trailer dressed up on the inside as a classroom. Desks scattered about. Curled up posters half-hanging from the walls. Boxes stacked in the corners. A teacher’s desk, stacked with papers. Susan (mid 30s), on her hands and knees, sniffs the floor. Micah (16) enters.



Do you smell that?



And here are the two winners of the worst opening line-


A dimly lit tavern. The only customer sitting at the bar takes a sip of his beer and then speaks to the bartender.



This wedgie is killin’ me.


(Kyle Hines)


And -


A Victorian-era drawing room in an English country house. Night. It is raining. An old woman, dressed in black is seated on a divan. She has dozed off, mouth agape, a glass in hand. A large decanter of whiskey, almost empty, sits on the side table. A grandfather clock is heard faintly ticking. A young boy in a night shirt stands at the tall, leaded glass window, gazing out. He holds a small orange object in a handkerchief.


Grand-mama, do you think my goldfish had a soul?

(Mark Bergren)


Thanks to everyone - and keep writing!! The 10-minute play contest ends on the 15th of this month.


The challenge was met by dozens of you, and the winning entry is by Kyle Hines. Second place goes to Mark Bergren.

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