Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Mystery of Irma Vep & the Dumb Waiter

Today we will complete our reading of The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam.

Our next play to read and consider is Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter. This will conclude our two person plays. Please read the script and watch the BBC performance of this play.

Information about Harold Pinter is here. Please read about him. This is also a link to his website. You can gather more information here as you please.

The Dumb Waiter part one
The Dumb Waiter part two
The Dumb Waiter part three
The Dumb Waiter part four
The Dumb Waiter part five

There will be a test on Pinter (biography information), the Dumb Waiter, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Charles Ludlam (biography information), The Ridiculous Theater Company, Tuesdays With Morrie, and Ludlow Fair on Monday. You should know characters, important or key information on these contemporary plays and playwrights, plot elements, major conflicts, and the structure of a 2-person play as it relates to these scripts.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Workshop - Revision & The Mystery of Irma Vep

1st period: please conclude your workshop and begin revising your plays.
--Correct mistakes
--Add details and strengthen your writing. Remove vague statements and words and replace with specific and effective imagery.
--Correct punctuation & syntax (remember to keep your lines short, declarative, and active)
--Correct formatting
--Finish the script for those of you who had incomplete play scripts
--Hand in when you have completed your revision (due by Monday, next week)

2nd period: During second period we will begin reading Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep in honor of Halloween and the 2-person play form.

If you finish early 1st period, please look here for information about Charles Ludlam. Read the manifesto about Absurdist theater. Please also read about the Ridiculous Theater Company.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Workshop 10-Minute Plays

During the year we will be entering 10-minute play contests and some of these plays might be produced in our own Playwrights' Festival in March. Before that happens, our scripts have to be the best that they can be.

Today, get into the following groups and analyze the following scripts. For each script, please fill out a rubric and make a few comments about what you thought about the play. Do you think actors would like it? Do you think a director would like it? Do you think an audience would like it? And give a reason why. If there are issues that the playwright needs to know, please list these as well:

Group A: Justice, Khari, Wade, Shayla, Jerry

Group B: Brianna, Victoria, Alaina, Marissa, Alex

Group C: Valerie, Whitney, Adeline, Ledibel, Zach, Monica

Group D: Aubrey, Kennethea, Jenee, Nautica, Tashae

I will collect the workshop forms at the end of the workshop. This is counted as participation credit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesdays With Morrie; 2 Person One Act

Please complete your reading in groups of Tuesdays With Morrie. Afterward, please use your 2 characters from the character questionnaire and put these characters in a scene. Begin writing the scene. Your scene should only be one setting and involve both characters as protagonist and antagonist to each other. This is an ongoing project at this point.

We will workshop your 10-minute plays next class.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sleuth, Ludlow Fair, Tuesdays With Morrie

Today we will finish the film Sleuth and discuss it with Ludlow Fair. During the second half of the class, please get into groups of 3-4 and read Tuesdays with Morrie out loud with each other.

As you are reading, pay close attention to the dramatic movement of the characters. These plays don't have a lot of physical action (albeit they do have a lot of prop work). The action of the play is largely created by the antagonistic and "protagonistic" qualities of the two major characters. Each character acts as a foil and antagonist to the other.

Also pay attention to the theatrical conventions in the play. How is the story told so that it could be easily produced on stage for a paying audience?

Ask: Why would people go to the theater to see this play instead of watching a movie or reading a book? Discuss.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Character Questionnaire & Sleuth

We are going to be examining a variety of 2-person plays. To start off with the end of the marking period, let's watch the film Sleuth. This film, re-written by Harold Pinter (playwright) was originally made in 1972 and written by playwright Anthony Shaffer.

Please turn in your homework: the questionnaire for the two characters in your character bank.

New Homework: Please read Ludlow Fair by Lanford Wilson. Examine Rachel and Agnes' characters.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 Minute Play Draft Due Today! & Character Bank

Today, please continue and complete your 10-minute play drafts. Make sure your formatting is correct, proofread, and print. We will be workshopping these plays in a little while.

When you have completed your drafts, please read the article: "Casting Your Characters."

Know the following terms:
Flat vs. Original character
Supporting Character
Physical antagonist
Abstract antagonist

Please create a character bank in your journal/notebook. List names that you might use in a play and a short 2-3 sentence description for each name. These characters do not need to be fleshed out completely yet, but the more detail you provide, the more vivid they will be. Try to come up with about 10.

Choose 2 of these 10 and complete the character questionnaire in your packet. The questionnaire is due next class, so please complete for homework.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The 10-Minute Play Draft

Today, continue to work on your 10-minute play drafts. If you are working diligently on your projects, we can set the due date for next class. If you are collectively not working on the play it is due today at the end of class.

Either way, review the advice about writing a 10-minute play below.


There are generally two different types of play script format. One is preferred over the other, although most literary managers will accept either.

Please consult the handout I gave you last class to check your format. You may also link to this website for advice and examples of correct script formatting.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The 10-Minute Play

Before you begin the 10 minute play, you will need a premise: the organizing theme or idea that defines everything in the play. A good premise will indicate an interesting inciting incident, help you start off your drama with some effective action or conflict, and will carry you through to the end of your play. The things to remember about 10-minute plays is that they are similar to short stories:

They have a premise
They have a dramatic situation (setting, characters in action, & a complication)
They have a beginning, middle, and end
They have a tight structure (most never change scene or setting)
They are at most 10 pages long.
There are usually fewer than four characters. Often two or three at most.
The beginning of the play starts at a very early POINT OF ATTACK.
By the end of the first page or the top of the second the argument or conflict has been presented.
The play usually has only one conflict and one plot line.
There is not much exposition. By the middle of the first page, exposition has been stated.
The end of the play falls very close to the climax. Only a few lines are devoted to resolution.
Most plays deal with the exceptionally brief, but powerful moment in a character's life.

Take the advice from the handouts I've given you about where to find ideas. Search through these, check the 38 dramatic situations for help (see link page to the side), write about what you believe and what you know to be true. Brainstorm, but move on today with your idea. You should write a good solid 3-4 pages today in the lab.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Amadeus & Projects

After chatting about the show please complete your monologue projects. These are due today. When you finish, please begin work (if you haven't already) on the 10-minute play project.

Khari's film can be viewed on my teacher website under the Creative Writing Department Student films link.

The Murky Middle (Even More Advice)

Aristotle wrote that stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Middles can be difficult. You might have a smashing opening to a stor...