2014 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.


 

To Register email Scott Working.

Indicate your first and second preference for each session.

 

 

Registration is required for all workshops.

 

Workshop Descriptions

Theatre Workshop - Session One

Saturday, May 24

11:00 am - 12:30 pm

 

Getting Unstuck  -  Kia Corthron

 

Do you feel stuck on the play you’re currently working on? Or did you get stuck on a former piece and finally, in frustration, put it aside? This workshop will help get you out of creative gridlock, allowing you to open up your play via new, unexplored territory.

 

Mule Barn 101

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 102

Visual Thinking - Jody McAuliffe

 

Choose one from a small group of photographs provided for you, in which some kind of story with a dramatic action seems to be taking place, or is implied.  Your initial task - in playwriting mode – is to imagine what comes before and after the moment (in the story you invent) captured by the photo.  Once the scenes are written, we’ll read them aloud, and we'll choose three to concentrate on.  With three plays (and their playwrights) to work with, the group chooses a director and actors for each play.  Using the playwrights as a resource, the directors will stage the scenes, script in hand, with the actors.  This exercise, beginning with a visual prompt, focuses on the idea that theatre is as much a visual as it is a verbal art.

 

 

Mule Barn 112

Structure and Re-structure – Eugenie Chan

 

A workshop in using poetry to create and re-create a roadmap to a short play (or even a long one). You’ll work with character, object, tone, and more to begin a new play. Take home pages to complete a new piece for the end-of-the-conference PlaySlam.

 

Mule Barn 106

The Jazz Acting Technique - Levy Lee Simon

 

Experience Ernie McClintock’s Jazz Acting Technique, which concentrates on the actor approaching his or her work with the same freeness,openness, and improvisational mindset as a great jazz artist. It explores the body as an instrument and the emotions as notes - all while working in unity with an ensemble of like-minded actors (players).
Mule Barn 105
 

Theatre Workshop - Session Two

Saturday, May 24

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

 

Immersion Theatre - Tom Riccio


The line between performance, art and life has become fluid and indistinct. The ongoing present, an all at once complex world, animated, digital, virtual, textured, vividly tactile forest of symbols, has become an immersive narrative we live within. Immersion theatre is an evolutionary response requiring a fundamental reconsideration of theatre and performance. Function, expression, methods, organization, and the role of the artist are being questioned and reimagined. The once preeminent word, the theatre of the eye and role of the playwright is giving way to a more collaborative, comprehensive totality of sensorial text of experience co-created with an audience. Workshop discussion and explorations will provoke the consideration of creating a performance event requiring sensual design shaped as an immersive narrative journey through an alive, embodied space. For directors, theatre and performance creators at all experience levels.

 

Mule Barn 101

Using Anger to Make ART - Constance Congdon

 

Come prepared to write and not edit yourself.

 

Mule Barn 102

Play Structures (Simple Yet Profound) - Todd Olson 


Ever have a play not grab you from the beginning? Ever not care for the hero’s journey and get bored mid-way? Ever leave at intermission because you just don’t care how the story ends? The reasons might be easily found in the play’s structure. Todd Olson will focus on Julie Jenson’s book “Playwriting, Brief and Brilliant” (with some nods to Michael Hauge’s “Writing Screenplays that Sell”) and walk the class through play structures that work.

 

Mule Barn 105

Site-Specific Writing (Parts I and II) – Josh Hecht


This two-part workshop will explore location as the creative source of new work.  Session one will take place in a special location on the historic Fort Omaha campus.  Location-based writing exercises will ask you to pay close attention to your surroundings, both the literal and the metaphysical -- the hidden places hovering just beneath the surface.  The session will end with "homework" questions designed to help you investigate the impulses you've captured.  Over the course of the week, participants will be expected to open up the automatic writing generated in this first session and expand upon it, fashioning it into a short play, a scene, or just a series of sketches.  Session two will be a read and respond session.  Participants will read the work they've created and we will employ the Liz Lerman Critical Response method to identify what's exciting about your writing and pose questions for further exploration.

 

 

Meet in SCC First Floor Lobby

The Energized Space - Mary Beth Easley and 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.

 

Mule Barn 112
   

Theatre Workshop Session Three

Sunday, May 25

10:00 am - 11:30 am

 

Getting Unstuck  -  Kia Corthron


Do you feel stuck on the play you’re currently working on? Or did you get stuck on a former piece and finally, in frustration, put it aside? This workshop will help get you out of creative gridlock, allowing you to open up your play via new, unexplored territory.

 

Mule Barn 101

I HAVE A UNIVERSE IN MY MIND, or, TEACH ME YOKOLisa D’Amour

(limited to 16 participants)

 

CLOSET PIECE II
Put one memory into one half of your head
Shut it off and forget it.
Let the other half of the brain long for it.
-- Yoko Ono

 

This workshop will use the performance work of Yoko Ono as a springboard to explore the intersection of playwriting and performance art.  In the first half of this workshop, we will experiment with performing some of Yoko Ono’s “Instruction Pieces” such as “painting to shake hands” and “bandage piece”.    We’ll see what we learn, honing in especially on the uncanny humor and improvisatory “liveness” in Ono’s work.  Then, students will have the choice to create a short performance “moment” of their own, or take on a writing exercise inspired by Ono’s approach to art making.  This workshop is inspired by Lisa’s experience performing YOKO ONO’s cut piece at the Walker Art Center, Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm and the Penland Craft School.  Absolutely no performance experience needed.  Bring your beginner’s mind.

 

 

Mule Barn 102

What Lies Beneath: Finding Reverberations of the Self in a Scene – Michael Wiener


In this workshop, we will explore the art of listening and the power of stillness. Drawing on what you find in a scene partner, how that affects and transforms your inner life. How discovery begins in a moment of observation and absorption and repercusses across a performance. How patience and relaxation and being utterly present and in the moment allow an actor to engage. Beginning with a meditation establishing an intimate atmosphere and connecting each participant with his/her inner life, we will subsequently bring our grounded selves into a partnering exercise in which we will communicate authentically, viscerally, immediately and with complete trust. At which point we will be fully primed to apply the energy we’ve unearthed to scene work. Each duo will be assigned a scene from an eclectic, uniquely challenging array of plays, to be read individually and then with one’s partner before presenting to fellow workshop attendees, with the goal being to follow the self fearlessly through the text, where revelatory dramatic vibrations await those who dare to liberate themselves from their own scrutiny to make transformative discoveries. A liberal dose of Meisner, smattering of Stanislavski, spicy infusion of Method and an overwhelming deluge of you.

 

 

Mule Barn 105

When Should the Words Stop Working So Hard?  Writing the PicturesElena Araoz and Justin Townsend


How do we write strong visuals when we are developing a play in reading workshops where visual storytelling is not available? How does another writer balance the myriad of images in his or her head and the intrinsic theatrical vocabulary of his or her play? How can we write with the expectation that a production's design and staging will help us tell our story? And should the playwright even be thinking about how his or her play will be designed while he or she is writing? 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? How can design and technology be an integrated part of the storytelling and not forced on top of it? Through a series of exercises led by a director and designer, each playwright will explore practical methods to strengthen the visual possibilities in his or her writing and trust those emerging images to speak just as loudly as the spoken text.

 

Mule Barn 106

Sound/Movement Express!Kim Gambino


Enjoy the freedom of using your voice and body in wacky and wonderful ways to explore text and material through sound and movement games. These exercises discard any ideas of right and wrong and break down barriers between you and your gut instincts, impulses and emotional connection to the work. The exercises taught can be especially useful for auditioning or when feeling blocked and stuck. While having fun flexing our instruments, we can connect to our work in a deeper, more uniquely
expressive way. This workshop is good for actors of all levels or for anyone who would like to make sounds and move and express. Dress to move!

 

SCC 201 A

Theatre Workshop Session Four

Wednesday, May 28

10:00 am - 11:30 am

 

Using Anger to Make ARTConstance Congdon


Come prepared to write and not edit yourself.

 

Mule Barn 101

The End In The BeginningKate 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 102

Visual ThinkingJody McAuliffe


Choose one from a small group of photographs provided for you, in which some kind of story with a dramatic action seems to be taking place, or is implied.  Your initial task – in playwriting mode – is to imagine what comes before and after the moment (in the story you invent) captured by the photo.  Once the scenes are written, we’ll read them aloud, and we’ll choose three to concentrate on.  With three plays (and their playwrights) to work with, the group chooses a director and actors for each play.  Using the playwrights as a resource, the directors will stage the scenes, script in hand, with the actors.  This exercise, beginning with a visual prompt, focuses on the idea that theatre is as much a visual as it is a verbal art.

 

 

Mule Barn 112

When Should the Words Stop Working So Hard?  Writing the PicturesElena Araoz and Justin Townsend


How do we write strong visuals when we are developing a play in reading workshops where visual storytelling is not available? How does another writer balance the myriad of images in his or her head and the intrinsic theatrical vocabulary of his or her play? How can we write with the expectation that a production's design and staging will help us tell our story? And should the playwright even be thinking about how his or her play will be designed while he or she is writing? 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? How can design and technology be an integrated part of the storytelling and not forced on top of it? Through a series of exercises led by a director and designer, each playwright will explore practical methods to strengthen the visual possibilities in his or her writing and trust those emerging images to speak just as loudly as the spoken text.

 

 

Mule Barn 106

The Jazz Acting Technique – Levy Lee Simon

 

Experience Ernie McClintock’s Jazz Acting Technique, which concentrates on the actor approaching his or her work with the same freeness,openness, and improvisational mindset as a great jazz artist. It explores the body as an instrument and the emotions as notes – all while working in unity with an ensemble of like-minded actors (players).

 

Mule Barn 105

 

 

Theatre Workshop Session Five

Friday, May 30

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

   

I HAVE A UNIVERSE IN MY MIND, or, TEACH ME YOKOLisa D’Amour

(limited to 16 participants)

 

CLOSET PIECE II
Put one memory into one half of your head
Shut it off and forget it.
Let the other half of the brain long for it.
-- Yoko Ono

 

This workshop will use the performance work of Yoko Ono as a springboard to explore the intersection of playwriting and performance art.  In the first half of this workshop, we will experiment with performing some of Yoko Ono's "Instruction Pieces" such as "painting to shake hands" and "bandage piece.”    We'll see what we learn, honing in especially on the uncanny humor and improvisatory "liveness" in Ono's work.  Then, students will have the choice to create a short performance "moment" of their own, or take on a writing exercise inspired by Ono's approach to art making.  This workshop is inspired by Lisa's experience performing YOKO ONO's cut piece at the Walker Art Center, Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm and the Penland Craft School.  Absolutely no performance experience needed.  Bring your beginner's mind.

 

Mule Barn 101

Structure and Re-structure – Eugenie Chan

 

A workshop in using poetry to create and re-create a roadmap to a short play (or even a long one). You’ll work with character, object, tone, and more to begin a new play. Take home pages to complete a new piece for the end-of-the-conference PlaySlam.

 

Mule Barn 102

Immersion Theatre - Tom Riccio

 

The line between performance, art and life has become fluid and indistinct. The ongoing present, an all at once complex world, animated, digital, virtual, textured, vividly tactile forest of symbols, has become an immersive narrative we live within. Immersion theatre is an evolutionary response requiring a fundamental reconsideration of theatre and performance. Function, expression, methods, organization, and the role of the artist are being questioned and reimagined. The once preeminent word, the theatre of the eye and role of the playwright is giving way to a more collaborative, comprehensive totality of sensorial text of experience co-created with an audience. Workshop discussion and explorations will provoke the consideration of creating a performance event requiring sensual design shaped as an immersive narrative journey through an alive, embodied space. For directors, theatre and performance creators at all experience levels

 

Mule Barn 105

Site-Specific Writing (Parts I and II) – Josh Hecht

 

This two-part workshop will explore location as the creative source of new work.  Session one will take place in a special location on the historic Fort Omaha campus.  Location-based writing exercises will ask you to pay close attention to your surroundings, both the literal and the metaphysical -- the hidden places hovering just beneath the surface.  The session will end with "homework" questions designed to help you investigate the impulses you've captured.  Over the course of the week, participants will be expected to open up the automatic writing generated in this first session and expand upon it, fashioning it into a short play, a scene, or just a series of sketches.  Session Two will be a read and respond session.  Participants will read the work they've created and we will employ the Liz Lerman Critical Response method to identify what's exciting about your writing and pose questions for further exploration.

 

Mule Barn 106

The Energized Space - Mary Beth Easley and 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.
Mule Barn 112