What makes a great play great? What stories need to be told on stage now? This collaborative writing workshop will investigate the essential skills for playwrights including creating dynamic characters, dramatic action, and dialogue that makes us lean in to listen. We will analyze the dramatic techniques of modern masters as well as acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Through interactive exercises and assignments each student will develop their own unique playwriting voice. Everyone will hear newly written pages out loud – absolutely essential for playwrights – and receive constructive feedback. Classes will be a mix of writing exercises, lectures on craft, in-depth analysis of classic and contemporary plays, and discussions of student work, culminating in the creation of original one-act plays.
My goal is to help you discover and nurture the storyteller within – the observer, questioner, and inventor. We will continually ask the big questions: What motivates human behavior? What makes a story relevant, entertaining, compelling, or moving? What responsibilities to our community do we have as storytellers? In what way is an artist a public intellectual? Does all art have a political, moral, and/or ethical point of view? What makes a great play great? What if…?
The workshop atmosphere is one of support and generosity toward new work and experimentation. You’ll be asked to experiment in your own writing as well as to welcome the very different experiments of your fellow writers. The workshop environment is a shared creation, and all members are responsible for sustaining it so that all feel free to work, to try new things, to take risks. You will all serve as actors for your fellow students. By the end of the course you will lead discussions of your own work.
I encourage you to participate in theatre at UNH as much as you can – and when possible, beyond – as audience members, onstage performers, directors, designers, technicians, or in any other capacity, understanding that any participation improves your vision and understanding of the art of theatre, and your awareness as a playwright.
- Strengthen skills of observation, analysis and inquiry
- Gain a practical understanding of playwriting fundamentals
- Gather techniques to conquer the blank page and methods for revision
- Read a wide range of professional modern and contemporary writing for the theatre
- Develop their own unique aesthetic, creative writing practice, and voice
- Develop drafts through exploration, revision, and feedback
- Learn how to contribute to the development of their fellow writers’ work
- Write and revise a ten-minute play, and a one-act play
- Ask: Why theatre? What is it for? What can it do?
Required Books and Materials
The required book is available at the UNH Bookstore, the Durham Book Exchange, and the Dimond Library as an ebook.
- Playwriting With Purpose by Jacqueline Goldfinger
- A Journal with full-size pages dedicated to playwriting