David Edgar, the English playwright (http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsE/edgar-david.html) has a new book out, “How Plays Work” published by Nick Hern. You can read a section here http://tinyurl.com/lo7ygc in the form of an article in the Guardian newspaper. You can also listen to Edgar being interviewed about the book, and about his attitude to teaching playwrighting here http://tinyurl.com/ltqeqt.
As actors, we can be too precious about what we need to know about how plays are written, how they are structured (or not), and why. I do think it is important to understand how plays work, as long as we recognise that the craft of writing a play involves acquiring certain skills and techniques while the craft of performing in a play requires a different set of skills and techniques. That said, I believe that playwrights and actors – in fact, all those involved in creating performance – benefit from the ability to analyse a play in a variety of ways.