2013 Theatre Workshops


The Theatre Workshop is a series of hands-on playwriting and performance-related classes designed and led by talented theatre professionals. Scheduled throughout the Conference, they provide educational opportunities for playwrights, actors, directors and the community. A wide variety of techniques and approaches are offered. Non-Conference registrants may attend workshops for an individual session fee.


Registration

Priority registration for participating playwrights (PlayLab and MainStage) is through May 25.

After May 25 registration will be open to all.

Seating is limited.

 

To Register email Scott Working.

Indicate your first and second preference for each session.

 

Cost

Individuals participating in conference readings or productions may attend workshops free of charge.

The general public may attend for $15 per workshop, payable at the Conference Info Desk, May 25-June 1, 1st floor Swanson Conference Center, Fort Omaha Campus (check or cash only). 

 

Registration is required for all workshops.

 

Workshop Descriptions

Theatre Workshop - Session One

Saturday, May 25

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

 

Writing in the Moment - Constance Congdon


Using timed exercises and given circumstances, Congdon allows the writer to ignite the imagination without worry, frustration, and belabored results.  Just bring lots of paper, writing implements, and a willingness to let go and write.  Come out of the class with plays and not just entries Notebook Limbo.

Mule Barn 102

The End In The Beginning – Kate Snodgrass


In all good drama, we can sense the end in the beginning of a play.  In Death of a Salesman--Willy is in extremis and "death" is mentioned almost immediately.  We'll look at the beginnings of plays to note the various techniques writers use (character, plot, theme, tone, et al.)  to clarify the world of their play.  Bring the first 2-3 pages of a draft to read aloud, and let us tell you where it ends; or bring an idea for a play as yet not fully formed, and let us help you decide where best to begin. 

 

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When Should the Words Stop Working So Hard?  Writing the Pictures – Elena Araoz and Justin Townsend


How do we write strong visuals when we are developing a play in a reading workshop where visual storytelling is not available? How can we write with the expectation that a production's design and staging will help us tell our story? How does a writer balance theatricality and naturalism, and how can design and technology be an integrated part of the storytelling and not forced on top of it? How can a script steer the design of a production without limiting the visual expertise of the designers?  What is the middle ground between overly prescriptive stage directions and not enough visual voice? And should the playwright even be thinking about how his or her play will be designed while he is writing?

Through a series of exercises led by a director and designer, each playwright will explore practical methods to strengthen their visual thinking and write from that greater visual mindset.  Each playwright will examine ways to rely on those images to speak just as loudly as the spoken text.

 

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Psychology Free Performing – Sibyl Kempson


Is there room in your acting technique for what you actually think and feel? What does it mean to be "in the moment"? How often to you truly feel connected with the text you are delivering? What does performing become when we subtract the pretending and the manufactured emotions and find a way to be in the room? The goal of this workshop is to move beyond and beneath the predictable and outworn trappings of one-intention-at-a-time Freudian/Stanislavskian methods of acting taught in acting schools and connect with something older and more immediate at the same time. Learn to work with the complexity that each moment has to offer, and to re-focus your attention IN THE ROOM. Unlock the infinite possibilities and potential that real presence has to offer in each and every performance.

 

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Theatre Workshop - Session Two

Saturday, May 25

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

 

Writing in the Moment - Constance Congdon


Using timed exercises and given circumstances, Congdon allows the writer to ignite the imagination without worry, frustration, and belabored results.  Just bring lots of paper, writing implements, and a willingness to let go and write.  Come out of the class with plays and not just entries Notebook Limbo.

 

Mule Barn 102

Starting at the StartLee Wochner


How many ways are there to tell a story? Eleventy billion — if you could just get started.  In this fun and interactive workshop, participants will get a quick review of some playwriting basics, then share and trade story ideas that launch them into instantly writing two new scenes. 

 

Mule Barn 112

The End In The Beginning – Kate Snodgrass


In all good drama, we can sense the end in the beginning of a play.  In Death of a Salesman--Willy is in extremis and "death" is mentioned almost immediately.  We'll look at the beginnings of plays to note the various techniques writers use (character, plot, theme, tone, et al.)  to clarify the world of their play.  Bring the first 2-3 pages of a draft to read aloud, and let us tell you where it ends; or bring an idea for a play as yet not fully formed, and let us help you decide where best to begin. 

 

Mule Barn 105

Site Specific WritingJosh Hecht


This workshop will explore the way paying close attention to your surroundings can spark your creativity.  Location-based writing exercises will help you get below your "censor" to tap into your unconscious and write!  Critical feedback method will help you uncover the richest veins of your automatic writing and pose questions for further discoveries.  

 

SCC First Floor Lobby

Acting:  Discovering Playable Action – Bostin Christopher  

 

Using script analysis and exercises, this workshop will examine the ways in which an actor goes about building a character on their way to discovering playable action. You got the part - you've received the script - now what? What exactly is and, more importantly, what is not "homework"? Discover how to tap into your creativity and bring a unique dynamic to your work. This workshop is for actors at any level and is also valuable insight for playwrights/directors in learning how actors work on material. 
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Theatre Workshop Session Three

Wednesday, May 29

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

 

Writing for the Singular Voice – Ruth Margraff


What does it mean to be singular in one of the most collaborative art forms?  We'll explore the space of singularity, point of view, soliloquy, monologue and solo and explore what it means to write with more daring – “that opium [as] start of the primary chronic force” (Artaud). Can you think of your playwriting as more of a studio practice inspired by visual artists rather than as groupthink or workshop-driven? We'll look at recent keynotes by Polly Carl and Todd London on individuality and the collective spirit of theater and find alternative plurals, antagonists, changelings and Guernicas from Picasso, Spain, India and Slovenia as well as with American performance artists.

 

Mule Barn 106

Starting at the StartLee Wochner


How many ways are there to tell a story? Eleventy billion — if you could just get started.  In this fun and interactive workshop, participants will get a quick review of some playwriting basics, then share and trade story ideas that launch them into instantly writing two new scenes. 

 

Mule Barn 112

The Energized Space - Mary Beth Easley & Mark Bruckner


Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it.  Match the Frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality.  It can be no other way.  This is not philosophy.  This is Physics.  -  Albert Einstein
Theater is a living art form: it takes place in time (impacted by sound), moving (kinetically) through space (the visual field).  This living art form generates energy, and that energy impacts both the generator and the receiver.  The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the principles of individual and collective energy flow and investigate how these principles can be applied toward the creation of dramatic art.  This is an immersive workshop where participants will also explore how music, soundscapes, and live Foley activate kinetic impulse and feed storytelling.

 

SCC 201D

Intuitive Research – Sibyl Kempson


What is your relationship to your research? Does it feel like work? Drudgery even? Do you get stuck? Do you get bored? Is it, for you, a necessary evil? You might be using the wrong side of your brain. Consider these pithy quotes from some of the greatest and most famous ‘geniuses’ of our age:

“Genius lies in the obscurity of one’s sources. “ – Albert Einstein.
“I never search, I only find. “ – Pablo Picasso.
This workshop will be held in the library, so that we can do some actual research. Please bring a piece of writing, or the seeds of a piece of writing, that you are currently working on that requires research of some kind. We will work as one large group, and also in pairs, to better our relationship to our research, and to open the doors of our own individual “passionate curiosity.”

 

SCC First Floor Lobby

Get the Process Going –Erik Ehn


Ehn presents a series of imaginative, signature exercisesfor getting a process going.

 

Mule Barn 105

“A Brief Workshop in Design and Engineering…”  Part One - Mac Wellman


Mac will take 7 attendees on a two part theatrical journey.  Attendees must sign up for both sections.  

 

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Theatre Workshop Session Four

Friday, May 31

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

 

The Art of Self ProductionEliza Bent

   
Don't know where to start when it comes to producing your own work? Let's get to work. In this workshop with Bent discover how producing can be as artful and satisfying as writing plays. The craft of the polite-yet-persistent follow up will be explored along with how to write a stellar press release and how to engage in brain tempests, a brain storm that is so big that it inspires you to reach a bigger goal than you could have imagined.

 

SCC 201D

Writing for the Singular Voice – Ruth Margraff


What does it mean to be singular in one of the most collaborative art forms?  We'll explore the space of singularity, point of view, soliloquy, monologue and solo and explore what it means to write with more daring – “that opium [as] start of the primary chronic force” (Artaud). Can you think of your playwriting as more of a studio practice inspired by visual artists rather than as groupthink or workshop-driven? We'll look at recent keynotes by Polly Carl and Todd London on individuality and the collective spirit of theater and find alternative plurals, antagonists, changelings and Guernicas from Picasso, Spain, India and Slovenia as well as with American performance artists.

 

Mule Barn 102

What Does it Mean to Hear Your Own Play? – Elena Araoz and Justin Townsend


Looking specifically at the rehearsal and production process, and the sweet spot when the playwright has the opportunity to best hear his or her play, for what is the playwright really listening? From whom does the playwright receive overt feedback, and where is the more hidden, subtle feedback? What does the work of actors, directors, and designers teach playwrights about their scripts? How are a production's designers part of the dramaturgical team? How does the staging influence rewrites? And what is the weight of the playwright's voice in the room, and how can the playwright speak most effectively throughout the production process?

Through a series of exercises led by a director and designer, each playwright will explore techniques to hear and see his or her play more clearly, and examine possibilities to make the most of a new script's rehearsal and production process. 

 

Mule Barn 105

Get a Process Going - Erik Ehn


Ehn presents a series of imaginative, signature exercises for getting a process going.  

 

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Movement Master Class - David Neumann

 

An innovative and energetic performer and teacher, David wants you to "Bring a willingness to move, to move beyond the expected. Let's splash ourselves with refreshing ideas, recharging our creative selves, leaving us bright-eyed and curious."

 

SCC 201A

“A Brief Workshop in Design and Engineering…”  Part One - Mac Wellman

 

Mac will take 7 attendees on a two part theatrical journey.  Attendees must sign up for both sections.  
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