Playwriting activities

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Playwriting activities

Teaching Playwriting Every citizen has at least one dramatic arc that is her or his life. Some are so agitated by it that they care to write it as a play.

Spoken text gets separated out from movement and action, lights cue up here while sound punctuates or moods up the moment there. Playwrights need mentors, esteemed and experienced professionals, who can help guide the journey of creation.

These mentors teach through the example of their careers as well as their work in classrooms, which can encompass undergraduate courses, MFA in Playwriting programs, community outreach and private workshops.

Playwriting pedagogy develops when methods and philosophies gain traction through praxis. Playwriting teachers pass along their approaches to the next generation and these students one day begin their teaching careers, applying these lessons with their own added perspectives.

The teaching of playwriting involves a myriad of approaches, strategies and philosophies in midwifing a play into being. Teaching playwriting in the twenty-first century presents new challenges to cultivating past traditions while incorporating new developments playwriting activities the field and addressing an increasingly globalized society.

How do we teach liveness in a technologically mediated world? How do we encourage the contradictory skills of solitary creation and collaborative expansion?

How do we help students engage with the conundrums such as marketplace versus art form? Responses to these questions will endlessly vary; however one way to gain insight is to ruminate on and engage with these issues so that each writer can arrive at her or his unique pedagogical approach that will help train our future dramatists.

A playwrights space of creation. Photo by Silver Birtch Press.

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Voice The word voice comes from the Latin vocare meaning to call or summon. To call forth vibrant, original writing requires the creation of a safe space in which to explore, discover, search, experiment, and expose, proclaiming unique perspectives with an initial emphasis on process not product.

Maria Irene Fornes, a master teacher who trained a generation of playwrights through her INTAR Playwrights Workshop, approached creating this space by emphasizing the importance of the body-mind-spirit connection while utilizing methodologies such as yoga, visualization, collage and scenic design.

This approach can empower the writer to create by drawing upon her or his unique physical and internal resources. The students then gather to read through all the new creations.

These two mentors have nurtured the voices of many award-winning playwrights, their approaches encouraging creative abundance and dismantling notions of scarcity. Liveness Technological simultaneity now informs daily life.

A click of the mouse can bring connection, opportunity, heartbreak or humiliation. We communicate and connect, keeping in touch without that next level of investment in live voice and not necessarily with an authentic interior with many others at a time.

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We are instant characters, messaging instant scenes—depth is possible, but speed trumps attention. Writing a play to be performed by live bodies, for live bodies seems antithetical to this current mediated age yet may provide a needed antidote to this attention-deficit, multi-tasking, hyper-linked moment.

Teaching playwriting in our age means being willing to be counter-cultural, to demand a deft quality of attention and to develop an ear that hears and responds to language. Entering the experience of another for a period of minutes and hours may begin to grow empathy. Even within the classroom, as playwriting students read their work aloud to one another, perspectives can shift, with new contexts arising, and so a sense of artistic, aesthetic and cultural awareness can be nurtured.

playwriting activities

Playwriting teachers address all this with their writing exercises: We both are Fornesians. We write in a land where the structuralists rarely tread. We understand that structure is essential; however teaching which privileges structure often tends to be linked more to product than process, to imitation than originality, to marketability than individuality, to a TV staff job or screenwriting career than a life of theatrical experimentation, freelancing and fellowships or grants.

I then studied with Fornes before and during my MFA in Playwriting training where she inspired me to delve more deeply into my playwriting practice. If I had to synthesize some of the key elements of the craft that Fornes taught me, they would be: Attention to inner mystery can often inspire the genesis of rich play material.

Character creation provides the first essential movement towards writing a new play. I always aim to help my students delve more deeply into character. How does a character behave in ways that are surprising, idiosyncratic, unnerving or seemingly irrational?

How can a character become more complicated, multi-layered, intriguing and mysterious?Enjoy some of our most popular playwriting exercises for aspiring writers in middle and high school!

Every exercise comes with a free PDF download of the exercise or handout to use in the classroom. 2 Introduction A Note to Teachers This handbook has been designed to help you bring playwriting into your classroom. It is our hope that these exercises, worksheets, evaluations, and .

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon.

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She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing. Playwriting: From Formula to Form [William M. Downs, Wright] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Structure is how a play logically fits together and can be archived through formula or form.

To understand the complexities of structuring with form. One of the activities is a playwriting questionnaire to help students develop their plots.

The Herberger College of the Arts, at Arizona State University, in Tempe, maintains a Web guide, ArtsWork, which includes a section on incorporating drama into general subjects for grades This section contains assignments for various weeks.

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Teaching Playwriting in the 21st Century | HowlRound Theatre Commons