The YouthPLAYS Blog
The same thing is true of the entire play. It's often tempting to start early in the story. For example, in my play Just Add Zombies, we could back the play up to early in the rehearsal process, show how bad the actors are, maybe even show Aunt Lillian casting Mitchy as Romeo because he's her nephew. But that's not what the play is about, and ultimately starting this early would be a disservice to the play; we can learn these pieces of information with just a few lines of dialogue (or perhaps a well-placed monologue), and it's far more exciting to place that exposition (i.e. information) in the middle of the action. In other words, start late.
You may also recall that in a previous blog, I talked about the "question of the play," that question to which the audience is waiting for an answer so they can go home satisfied. In Romeo and Juliet, I noted, the question is "will they get together?" just as in Hamlet it's "will he get revenge?" Once the question is answered, wrap it up and get out. In other words, end early.