The difference between john's plays and plays written by others is the words.
Seems simple enough doesn't it?
What I mean is john's words asked to be spoken. The words evoke place, setting, mood, condition, and emotions. Rarely if ever will you find elaborate set ups (exposition) prior to the scene. Instead the audience finds themselves in the middle of the story. The words and characters are true; so true that voyeurs stay to hear the rest of the story. They wonder about what has gone on before, and what will happen next. The audience moves from listening to the story to feeling the story very quickly.
john's plays do not have very many acting instructions in the text. The characters' words give the actor insight on how to say them.
The use of simple words layered to complexity is eminently more interesting and emotional than the path taken by many other plays.
john's plays are circular. The audience is invited to enter at any point in the circle. Intentional spaces are left in the circle asking the audience to fill them.
Most plays are straight lines, with the only way to get to the end successfully is to start at the beginning. There is a vantage point where the entire straight-line play can be seen. The length of this line determines the distance one has to be from the play to see it all.
Envision john's plays to be a collection of words, like actors, standing in a circle.
If you stand on the outside of a circle, you can only see part of the circle at any one time. Unlike the straight-line play, the most you can see standing outside is half the circle. Step into the center of the circle and you still can only see half of it at once. Becoming part of the circle allows you to view the greatest portion of the circle at once.
When the words are given life by the actor, the circle starts to move.
Stand on the outside and you can see it all as it moves past you, but it takes time. The play spins at it's own rate, and sometimes things pass in front of you faster than you would like. You may need to see things go by more than once before you to start to recognize them. That is ok, because john's themes emerge more than once in his play.
Stand on the inside and watch the actors spin around you is both exhilarating and intoxicating. It leaves you energized and sometimes dizzy.
Stand in the circle and move with the circle and all of a sudden every other point in the circle is fixed in relationship to your position. The world spins outside the circle in the background, becoming a visual blur, becoming less and less distinct as you concentrate on the circle in which you move.
With a straight-line play most of the audience members experience the same play from slightly different vantage points. The circular play changes the moment you step into the circle. So depending on what you bring with you into the circle changes the play.
I find this fascinating. It makes me want to see the play more than once, to experience it from different points in the circle.
Very few playwrights leave room for the actors to create their own stories within their roles; fewer still allow the audience to be creative within the play.