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2011 Theatre Workshops

A series of hands-on playwrighting and performance-related classes designed and led by talented theatre professionals.

Scheduled throughout the Conference, they provide educational opportunites for playwrights, actors, directors and the community.

A wide variety of techniques and approaches are offered.

Registration

Writing Workshops

Priority registration for participating playwrights (PlayLab and MainStage) is through May 15.

After May 15 registration will be open to all.

Seating is limited.

Performance Workshops **

These workshops are open to all.

Seating is limited.

Cost

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

The general public may attend for $15 per worhsop, payable at the Conference Info Desk, May 28-June 3, 1st floor Swanson Conference Center, Fort Omaha Campus (check or cash only). 

Registration is required for all workshops.

To Register email Scott Working.

Indicate your first and second preference for each session.

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Workshop Descriptions

Lee Blessing

Writing from your own Ridiculousness

The power to see what's ridiculous about ourselves--and about mankind in general--is a feature of nearly every great work of literature.  Learning to overcome the very human tendency to think of ourselves too seriously is at the heart of this workshop.  We will make fun of each other.  Far more importantly, we will make fun of ourselves.  Then we will try to put that into what we write. Playwrights have to be able to view their sense of self importance critically if they ever hope to manipulate that of an audience.

Wednesday, June 1 — 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Friday, June 3 — 1:30-3:00 p.m.

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Constance Congdon

Writing in the Moment


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.

Saturday, May 28 — 10:30 a.m.-noon

Sunday, May 29 — 10:30 a.m.-noon

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Caridad Svich

Landscape and Memory


Explore the creation of/remembrance of landscapes in and through memory in this writing intensive designed to situate place(s), voice(s) and the geography of the imagination in playwriting.

Wednesday, June 1 — 1:30-3:00 p.m.

 

Making Play


A workshop in collaboration, working and writing in response to sites (indoor and outdoor). Writers taking part in this workshop must bring materials requested at sign-in.

Required workshop materials:

two or three newspapers (hard copy)
3 photographs (hard copy)
scissors
scotch tape
notepad ( 8 1/2 X 11)
something to write with (pen, pencil)

Saturday, May 28 — 10:30 a.m.-noon

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Elena Araoz & Justin Townsend

When Should The Words Stop Working So Hard?  Writing The Pictures.

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 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? Once in production, how do the staging and design influence rewrites? And how are a production's designers part of the dramaturgical team?

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 explore ways to rely on those images to speak just as loudly as the spoken text.

Friday, June 3 — 1:30-3:00 p.m.

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Bostin Christopher

Acting: Stage vs. Film: Is it really a question of big vs. little? **


Actors are called upon to perform in a variety of medium these days: stage, film, tv, webisodes, etc. How does an actor switch between the mediums and give their best performance? This workshop will explain the differences in the mediums and explore the techniques used to bridge the gap. This workshop will work on tape. 

Saturday, May 28 — 10:30-12:00 p.m.

Discovering Playable Action **

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. 

Sunday, May 29 — 10:30 a.m.-noon

 

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Kip Fagan

Generative Theatre: Collage and choreography


An experiential workshop on creating generative work. Participants will bring in short texts (dialogues from plays, pieces of poetry, comments from Internet message boards, whatever) to serve as jumping-off points to making a company-created theatre piece. Exercises will include choreographic improvisation, reverse storytelling, collage-based dialogue, and other almost-thought-through methods.

Friday, June 3 — 1:30-3:00 p.m.

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Kim Gambino

Free the Singer Within You **


How many times have you been asked to sing at an audition and felt you blew it due to nerves? Or were you ever in a show that called for some singing and it terrified you night after night? This workshop explores different exercises that will help you feel more comfortable with music and group singing, as well as show you how to use your acting skills to deeply connect to the music and have more freedom and depth of expression in your singing voice and your song.

NOTE: Please show up to class with at least one song memorized.

Sunday, May 29 — 10:30 a.m.-noon

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Sibyl Kempson & David Neumann

Disorder and the Post-Dramatic **


This performance workshop navigates the rarely-addressed continuum between stage presence per se and absence of self on stage. We will look at stage absence as an essential component of possible Post-Dramatic theater forms. Disorderly are our attempts to break free of the cause-and-effect logic that drowns the actual experience of theater. And then we must find meaning in an experience whose meaning is not decided and told to us ahead of time. Participants will work with text and also examine the body as a potentially interesting template upon which to make theater. Dress to move!

Saturday, May 28 — 10:30 a.m.-noon

Wednesday, June 1 — 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Sibyl Kempson

Writing on the Right Side of the Brain

It will focus on letting go of preconceptions of what it means to write plays, or be a writer, or ideas of what a play is supposed to look like, which can block our true creative impulses. In other words, disarming the judgmental, rational half of our brain and empowering the creative, spatial, associative half that puts us in closer contact with our direct experience and impressions. Emphasis on detail, texture and contiguity will be favored over the more widely-accepted, but often limiting Aristotelian structure and continuity.

Friday, June 3, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

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Thomas Riccio

Subliminal


Where do I go, where do I find, how do I get to the nerve of myself, my world, my moment on earth? The real deal is underneath and in between, it’s not something you can touch or see, but rather something you feel, intuit and attract. The answer is in you. What and how you will write starts with accepting who you are, your likes, dislikes, fears, phobias, dreams, and fantasies. Then going deeper. The conscious mind is a filter, it’s a construct, a censor, and we’ve all been socialized, educated and colonized. But you are somewhere in there channeling your unique take on the universe. The role of the playwright is to go where others do not, cannot go. Being a playwright requires courage to spelunk the netherworld, wrestle and dance with the shadows, and then show the rest of us what we will not or cannot see. This workshop is about exploration and discovery of self and resources. It is about getting to the subliminal self, getting comfortable, and dealing with what you come up with. This workshop will be all about practical exercises. Beginning and intermediate level playwrights should come prepared to write.

  

Friday, June 3 — 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Re-Mix


Our lives are shaped by the pre-existing worlds we inherit. Conscious of it or not, the work playwrights do is all about receiving, transforming, and creating. The act of playwrighting is, in essence, how to adopt, appropriate and adapt to create something original. The work of the playwright is to reiterate, re-imagine and re-invent the world. Every play text has been inspired or often taken, whole or in part, from other texts, myths, scenarios, styles, genres and traditions. There are no originals; we live in the re-mix world. How to effectively synthesize disparate pre-existing texts into startlingly new theatrical expressions will be the focus of this workshop. What material, what “texts”, where to find them, how to work with them? How to begin, how to trust discovery, chance, happenstance, and the process? How do you play, work and shape the abundance of sources that surrounds you? What is the role, the function, and perspective of the playwright in the re-mix reality you are surfing? Listening to one’s instinct and conversing creatively with the world and yourself is essential. This workshop will offer up practical exercises and approaches for beginning and intermediate level playwrights.

Wednesday, June 1 — 1:30-3:00 p.m.

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Max “Bunny” Sparber

Everybody Should Be Their Own Press Agent: Self-Promotion for Playwrights


Playwright and journalist Max "Bunny" Sparber takes you on an insider's tour of public relations -- why a playwright needs to do their own promotion, how to do it, and why you can't count on a theater to do it for you. Playwrights who are serious about building an audience need to have basic skills in public relations, and this workshop will introduce you to the tools you need.

Sunday, May 29 — 10:30 a.m.-noon

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Lee Wochner

Starting at the Start


How many ways are there to tell a story? Eleventy billion — if you could just get started. After revisiting the fundamentals of playwriting, participants will share and trade story ideas and get launched on a new play that gets them writing and leaves doubt in the rearview mirror.

Saturday, May 28 — 10:30 a.m.-noon

Writing as Rewriting


You've got your first draft -- now what? In this interactive writing workshop, playwrights will be able to share their own pages for immediate feedback, and pick up proven methods for approaching rewriting.

NOTE: Bring 6 copies of up to 7 pages of a scene or play in progress with up to 4 characters.

Sunday, May 29 — 10:30 a.m.-noon