Beginner Playwright




About the Class:

The blank page, like an empty stage, is full of possibilities. Like a shipwright with the blueprints to industrial ironclad, it’s a playwright job to map the raw materials from which a story – complete with lives, feelings, language, and meaning – might be made, understood, and felt. A ‘play’ might just be the most hallowed and holy of the great tradition of technical, DIY literature. It all sounds very undramatic, but the art and craft of the playwright is essential to the theatre. It’s pretty easy to stuff-up a great play with inept staging, but there ain’t no one who’s ever incited an audience out of anything more than distracted contempt with a badly written play.

Beginner playwriting will introduce students to the essential ingredients of playwriting: structure, dialogue, form, and style. Starting with the structure of the ‘three-act story’, this course will then explore the astonishing breadth of the playwright’s arsenal. It will cover tragic and comedic modes of Realism, before exploring other forms of playwriting. We will be looking at the Epic, the melodrama, and Absurdism – opening up ways of approaching writing for the stage in ways that are often neglected in straight up writing courses. The goal is to remind, reinforce, and recapture that sense of theatricality that makes the theatre such an unpredictable and volatile space.

Playwriting is and ancient art form. From Sophocles to Shakespeare to the infinity number of chimps pounding out Donald Trump’s screeds on Victorian typewriters, the power and potential of the theatre has always started with a blank page.

Message from the Teacher:  “A Writer’s gotta Write