ONLINE WORKSHOP INTENSIVE: The Living Play

taught by Affiliated Writer Steven Dietz
Monday, October 10th @ 7pm-9pm CT; Saturday, October 15th @ 11am-1pm CT; Monday, October 17th @ 7pm-9pm CT
Venue: 
Online via Zoom
Cost: 
$50 for Members, $75 for Non-Members (Each Session); $125 for Members, $200 for Non-Members (All 3-Sessions)

Class Type: Writing Craft                  

Class Level: All Experience Levels Welcome

Class Dates/Times: 

  • Session #1 - Motion: Monday, October 10th @ 7pm-9pm CT (5:00pm PT, 6:00pm MT, 8:00pm ET)
  • Session #2 - Status: Saturday, October 15th @ 11am-1pm CT (9:00am PT, 10:00am MT, 12:00pm ET)
  • Session #3 - Time: Monday, October 17th @ 7pm-9pm CT (5:00pm PT, 6:00pm MT, 8:00pm ET)

Where: Online via Zoom, check out this quick video on the process.

Structure: Lecture/presentation, Discussion, Q&A

Questions: Email Alayna, Membership Programs Manager at alaynab@pwcenter.org

Captioning: For all sessions, we enable Zoom's auto-generated captioning. However, live captioning can be requested (with 2-weeks' notice) via the Membership Programs Participation Form shared in the detailed confirmation email.

Recordings: If you cannot attend a portion of the seminar, we have a Teaching Assistant and/or PWC facilitator taking in-depth notes. These written notes will be shared with all participants at the end of each session. (We record all of our sessions for internal use only. We do not share recordings with participants.)

Participants must register to join this class, Sign Up below.


WORKSHOP INTENSIVE OVERVIEW

This candid, practical and engaging 3-part workshop intensive seeks to overthrow the question “What is your play about?” in favor of this question: “What keeps your play alive?” A play is a living, shifting, proximate narrative event – requiring of its playwrights a unique set of skills, both literary and theatrical. This class seeks to name, explore and exploit the three fundamental aspects of our craft which keep a story "alive" and ever-shifting: Motion, Status, and Time.

SIGN UP FOR ALL 3 SESSIONS

SESSION #1 - Motion - Monday, October 10th @ 7pm-9pm CT

A play is a series of "living" moments onstage - but what keeps them alive? As opposed to "Action" (which is best defined as "things happening"), MOTION is devoted to "things changing." A play is alive not when things are being "done" onstage - but when the story is generating new questions for the audience. This Motion can be Horizontal ("what is going to happen?"); this motion can be Vertical ("why did she lie about that?") - but in either case, the question raised will keep the story alive. This class will offer tangible examples and usable daily exercises focussed on how Motion can be implemented to supercharge a line, a beat, a scene, a story.

SIGN UP FOR SESSION #1 - Motion

SESSION #2 - Status - Saturday, October 15th @ 11am-1pm CT
A play is a collision of characters. But what brings these characters to life and keeps them impacting each other before our eyes? STATUS - the shifting relational power dynamics in every scene - is the way characters become inter-dependent, and thus "alive" in their moments together. Character is fully situational, determined in large part by Status. This class will explore tactics such as Uneven Knowledge and Implied/Actual Status, as well as naming "traps" that can silo characters inside their individual wants, needs, and traits.

SIGN UP FOR SESSION #2 - STATUS

SESSION #3 - Time - Monday, October 17th @ 7pm-9pm CT
The most impactful decisions we make about our play are rooted in TIME - most specifically "when" in the lives of our characters we situate our story. This class is focused on using Time as a fundamental narrative strategy: situating the play atop our characters' threshold moments; maximizing the moments that are most alive in them - be they past, present or future. This class will drill down on how we Frame time in our play, and how we make time Function to make our story come to life.

SIGN UP FOR SESSION #3 - TIME

This Is the Seminar for You if You:

  • Are either an experienced or aspirational writer.
  • Are directors, actors, designers, etc. who wish to begin writing plays of their own.
  • Are interested in quickening/sharpening the way your story is delivered by your characters.
  • Are interested in play structure.

What to Expect:

  • Tangible strategies to apply to your current plays.
  • Story-making ideas with which to generate new plays.

Important Things to Note:

  • This is a 3-part workshop intensive. You can join all three or select individual sessions.
  • When you sign up, you will receive an auto-confirmation email. The next business day you will receive a detailed confirmation email with important information about the seminar including (1) Membership Programs Participation Form (2) The Zoom link (3) Pre-assignments from the instructor and (4) Information about the PWC Membership and Education Team. If you have not received this email by the next business day, please check your spam folder or reach out to Alayna and she will make sure you have the information you need for the seminar or class.
  • All participants must complete and submit a Membership Programs Participation Form for each seminar or class they want to attend. A link to this form is included in the detailed confirmation email.
  • Payment plans are available as needed. Please contact Membership Programs Manager, Alayna Jacqueline Barnes, to discuss payment options.

NOTE FROM STEVEN

Writers tend to desire 3 things above all: Inspiration, Talent and Craft. Inspiration is a con. Talent is a whim of fate. Only Craft is crucial. Only Craft is under the writer's control. Plays are not found, they are made. Ideas are not found, they are made. This class gives control of that "making" back to the writer, where it belongs.

INSTRUCTOR BIO

Steven Dietz's thirty-plus plays and adaptations have been seen at over one hundred regional theaters, as well as Off-Broadway. International productions have been seen in over twenty countries. In 2019, Dietz was once again named one of the 20 Most-Produced Playwrights in America by American Theatre Magazine.

Recent world premieres: How a Boy Falls (Northlight Theatre, Chicago); Dracula: Mina's Quest (ACT Theatre, Seattle); The Great Beyond and The Ghost of Splinter Cove (Actor's Theatre of Charlotte, Children's Theatre of Charlotte). Upcoming premieres: Gaslight (Cincinnati Shakespeare Company/Merrimack Repertory Theatre); Murder on the Links (North Coast Repertory Theatre/Laguna Playhouse).

Dietz was awarded the American Theatre Critics Association's Steinberg New Play Citation for Bloomsday; the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award for both Fiction and Still Life with Iris; the PEN USA Award in Drama for Lonely Planet; and the Edgar Award ® from the Mystery Writers of America for Sherlock Homes: The Final Adventure.

His work has been premiered/produced at the Roundabout Theatre Company (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago), Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Old Globe Theatre (San Diego), Seattle Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Northlight Theater (Chicago), Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), ACT Theatre (Seattle), and the McCarter Theatre Center (Princeton), among many others.

Other widely produced plays include Becky's New Car, This Random World, Last of the Boys, Rancho Mirage, Shooting Star, Yankee Tavern, Inventing van Gogh, Private Eyes, Rocket Man, God's Country, and The Nina Variations.

Dietz taught in the MFA Playwriting and Directing program at UT/Austin for twelve years. He currently serves as a Dramatists Guild "Traveling Master"—teaching workshops in playwriting, story-making, and collaboration across the U.S.

Dietz and his wife, playwright Allison Gregory, divide their time between Austin and Seattle.


Questions? Email Membership Programs Manager, Alayna Jacqueline Barnes, at alaynab@pwcenter.org

Steven Dietz