Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gathering Themes & Subjects; Agamemnon (Conclusion)

This morning please work on your play project.

Let's start with that list of premises. Answer this question: What do you want to write about?

  • Historical/legendary figures
  • Social problems
  • Contemporary issues
  • Absurdity
  • Romance and good times
  • Family issues
  • Sex and gender issues
  • Health issues (death & dying, etc.)
  • Psychological issues
  • Religious or philosophical issues
  • Other* (continue this list--your options are only limited to your imagination!)
Many of these things can be combined in a longer play. In a short 10-minute play it is usually best to stick with one premise.

Before you write your play, you should draft ideas about characters/settings and major plot events: conflicts, complications, crisis, turning points (peripety), anagnorisis, dark moments, enlightenments, climax, resolutions, etc.

Start fleshing out ideas based on SETTING: where does the play take place (time period, location, weather/season, time of day, etc.); will you need many settings to tell your story or can you consolidate your locations/times and bring UNITY of TIME to your play?

Start fleshing out characters that might appear in your play. Not all should or have to show up. Some are just talked about (offstage characters). Consider whose story you want to tell? Who is likely to be involved? Use the packet of characters for some ideas--or create your own. It's all good. The best stories are character driven. Characterization is the key!

Start fleshing out plot (see above). How many scenes or acts is your story likely to cover? How will each scene fit together to tell an interesting, creative, and effective story?

Finally, consider theme/subject. 

Come up with some subjects for your play: what is the main topic or issue your play will deal with? Marital infidelity? Revenge? Suicide? Broken promises? Dealing with difficult people? Family issues? See the bulleted list above for some ideas. Flesh these out! Pick a subject.

THEME (or IDEA in Aristotle): theme is your POINT OF VIEW about the subject.

Read and consider the packet on theme. Complete these activities in the packet along with others. 

at 8:00 we'll continue and complete Agamemnon. Please turn in your "test" at the end of our viewing.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Play Project (ongoing); Agamemnon Prep; Agamemnon: Day 1

LAB: Please turn in your homework (see previous post for details).

Review the following information until 8:00. We will be moving to the classroom at that time to begin viewing Agamemnon. Begin planning your play ideas/premises, complete homework you should have done already, and/or review the background information regarding Agamemnon.


By the end of the marking period/course (Jan. 20, inauguration day, as a matter of fact) the following assignment must be completed to complete and pass this course. You will have a variety of options.

Option 1: Write a full length play. Full length plays are typically two full acts (each act being about 25-30 pages of script, so you're looking at completing about 50-60+ pages of a single play script story line--most contemporary full length plays are between 60-80 pages in length so you're not expected to write that much--but this is a challenge, not for the faint-hearted). Think about this: if you wrote only 1-script page per day until the end of the marking period, you'd have about 54 pages written. Genre and style is completely up to you. If you have a big story with important human themes in mind, this may be a good option. The plus side is that you get to develop a cast of characters and really flesh them out. Writing a good full length play will likely get you into any theater program you are applying for--and most likely with a scholarship. We will be able to workshop your play along the way (usually scene by scene) and can discuss production or readings if you'd like to pursue this option.

Option 2: Write 2 full one-act plays. This option allows you to explore two different ideas, themes or styles. One act plays sustain a longer story line and plot, usually with fewer characters than full-length plays, but complete their climax sooner and generally take less time to write than full length plays. One full one-act play should focus on one important action (although side plots can be included) and usually develop characters to a greater extent than 10-minute or short one-act plays. Each full one-act play would typically be around 20-30 pages in length, so you're looking about a total page count of 40-60 pages. Workshopping individual plays once you have a draft written would be doable. Having written 2 substantial play scripts will likely get the attention of college programs in writing or theater. Longer plays may be given a public reading or production during the playwrights' festival in January.

Option 3: Write 1 one-act play, and two (2) 10-minute plays. This option allows you to dabble with a variety of casts, styles, and ideas. One act plays should be around 20-30 pages in length, with 10-minute plays about 7-12 pages each. Workshopping one or two of your drafts is expected. The shorter plays can be entered into Geva's young playwriting contest. 10-minute plays are about the length we are looking for during the playwrights festival in late January and will count toward your page length requirement if you join us. The one act might be given a public reading or production.

Option 4: Write 4 (four) 10-minute plays. This option allows you to dabble with many different short plays and scenarios for students who have trouble sustaining a storyline or plot. You've done these before so there's no mystery here. Each 10-minute play should be somewhere around 7-12 pages in length (not including title or cast list pages). Workshopping one or more of your plays is expected. 10-minute plays are about the length we are looking for during the playwrights festival in late January and will count toward your page length requirement if you join us.

Start your process by taking some time to write some premises. Outline and sketch out ideas (mind-maps or other graphic organizers can help!) to see if they might work and what length might be the best option for the story you want to tell. If you already have a full-length play written and would like to develop it further, you can do that. You can also take a short story you have written (or read) and turn that into a play for the stage. If you're a poet, consider writing a poetic or verse play--or a musical. Monologue plays and historical plays are also options we have already explored, but feel free to use the form if you'd like. Consider your tone. Is your play's premise likely to be comedic or serious? Tragic or satirical? Choices, choices.

Some professional advice:

Grading and rubric information will be forthcoming, but what I'm looking for here is growth. Prove to me that you have learned how to write a play. That's all you need to do to pass this course. Quality counts, but it's not as important as your growth as a writer. For those of you who would like a challenge, challenge yourself by doing something out of the ordinary, something creative or unusual. For those of you who are having trouble writing or shouldn't have been a creative writing major, try to find the love of writing you once had by writing about subjects and characters you care about. What do you want to say to the world? Not all plays come out as perfect works of art. We will be workshopping and helping you succeed along the way during class. Most of the writing time, though, is on your own clock. Start today!

NOTE: you can always change your mind about the options. Say you are writing your 10-minute play and everything's clicking. You're on a roll. You write 12 pages, then 15, then 20. You can decide what option you want to fulfill after you write.

Some extra credit is available by a). going to see live theater and writing a short review, b). being in a production of live theater and writing a short reflection about the process, and c). writing an additional play script (length would be completely up to you (which would include sketches or very short plays...!) So if you screw up and write something crappy, don't worry. Again, I'm looking for growth and effort, not perfection! Most plays suck until we workshop them, so...chill.

The next few classes (after Agamemnon) as we explore Elizabethan theater we will be reading, writing, brainstorming, and gathering advice about writing plays. Feel free to use the exercises we have already completed as starting points for your own ideas. Impress me and you'll pass. Ignore this project or put it off until the last moment and you will likely fail.

HOMEWORK: None. But you can get started on this project today! Consider your options and begin a plan. Write. Nothing is stopping you from being successful but you.

AGAMEMNON by Aeschylus:
The Oresteia by Aeschylus is the only complete Greek trilogy. These three plays: AgamemnonThe Libation Bearersthe Eumenides tell the story of the House of Atreus in Argos. Today and this week we will be watching the production of Peter Hall's Agamemnon, translated by Tony Harrison. In Harrison's script, you will note the use of alliteration and kenning. These literary devices and techniques are Anglo Saxon in origin, not Greek. The Greeks had their own cadence and rhythm to their plays. Other elements, such as the use of masks, flutes, drums, and an all-male cast are standard Greek tragedy style.

Key mortal characters in the myth are: Thyestes, Atreus, Aegisthus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Odysseus, Helen, Paris, Priam, Cassandra, Iphigenia, Orestes, and Electra.

Key immortal characters include: Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, The Furies (Eumenides...also called the Erinyes, the Kindly Ones, The Daughters of the Night were spirits of vengeance, murder, and jealousy. Their names are Tisiphone, Megaera, and Alecto).

• Atreus and Thyestes (brothers, sons of Pelops) fought because Thyestes challenged the throne of Argos and seduced Atreus’ wife.
• Thyestes was defeated by his brother and driven out of Argos, but returned as a suppliant with his children. A suppliant is like a homeless beggar.
• Atreus invited the family to a feast (where he slaughtered Thyestes children and served them to their father as dinner).
• Thyestes ate his children, unknowingly.
• When he found out what had happened, he cursed the house of Atreus and fled with his remaining son, Aegisthus.
• Agamemnon and Menelaus are the sons of Atreus, inheriting Argos.
• Agamemnon married Clytemnestra
• Menelaus married Helen.
• Helen ran off with Paris (or Paris, like Thyestes, seduced Helen) and this started the Trojan War.
• Agamemnon and Clytemnestra had three children: Iphigeneia, Electra, and Orestes.
• Menelaus convinced his brother Agamemnon to help him get his wife back from Troy.
• The gods (Artemis) were protecting the Trojans and didn’t bring them the wind needed to sail to Troy
• Calchas, the prophet, divined that the gods were angry and wanted a sacrifice.
• Calchas and Menelaus encouraged Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter Iphigeneia.
• Agamemnon did so and gained favor and wind from Zeus; the Athenians sailed to Troy, won the war and sacked Troy. The battle lasted 10 years. This is, of course, the Trojan War.
• At beginning, Aegisthus has returned to Argos, now the lover of Clytemnestra (think Penelope and Odysseus), and exiled Orestes (he’s the rightful ruler, you see).
• Greek torchbearers or Messengers will light the beacon fire when Troy has fallen.
• Agamemnon, with his “prize” Cassandra (the daughter of Priam, king of Troy), returns after the war to a “warm” welcome.
CLASSROOM: Agamemnon, Part 1.

Please complete the questions regarding Agamemnon as you watch the play. Your answers are due when you finish viewing.

HOMEWORK: See HOMEWORK section above.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Old Comedy dates from the establishment of democracy by Pericles, about 450 B.C.E.

Aristophanes and other comic dramatists satirized Greek culture, human behavior, and popular or political figures of the day. Satire's purpose was to make a better society through ridicule and laughter.

Comedy borrows much of tragedy's components: such as choral dances, masked actors, metre and music, scenery and stage mechanism, among the structure of tragedies: prologue, parados, episodes, exodus, stichomythia or debate, etc.

Instead of tragedy, comedy focuses on a "happy idea" whereupon a bad character or idea is exposed, ridiculed, and overcome. Good people rise to a happy ending, with conflicts resolved--and no one dies (usually). In The Frogs Aeschylus and Euripides have already died when the play begins.

Coming from phallic songs, Old Comedy often focuses on sexual or marital issues.

As you watch/read the play please look for and jot down in your notes examples of: Phallic or Yonic Symbols.

For HOMEWORK: Please complete the play. Answer 6 questions from each category (choose 1 question for each Aristotelean category: plot, character, theme/idea, language/diction, music, spectacle.

PLOT (choose 1 to answer):
  • 1. Test the three unities of time, place, and action against the play Lysistrata. Did Aristophanes follow these rules? 
  • 2. Contemporary movies tend to be episodic and rarely follow the three unities. The intricate plots and subplots jump around in time and location. The plots and settings are more sensational. Since movies usually have extremely large budgets, reusable sets are not common. However, many classic black-and-white movies followed the unities closely. List one movie that follows the three unities. Write a three-line plot summary of this film explaining how it meets the criteria of following the unities. 
  • 3. How realistic is the plot of Lysistrata? Would Lysistrata’s strategy for ending the war work today or in recent wars? Discuss the 1960s-70s slogan, from the Viet Nam era, “Make love not war.” How have times/perspectives changed about war since the 60's/70's?
CHARACTER (choose 1 to answer):
  • 1. How do you as the audience view the character of Lysistrata? What figure(s) in mythology, tragedy, or literature does she most resemble? Would an ancient Greek audience respond to her differently than today’s audiences? 
  • 2. How are the “foreigner” characters depicted in this play? Discuss how Lysistrata and the Athenian women respond to their initial observations of the women from other lands as they arrive at the top of the play. Discuss differences in language, dialect, and slang. 
  • 3. Why do you think Aristophanes chose to have two choruses? Why older men and women? How does this choice add to the comedy? 
  • 4. How are the male characters depicted differently than the female characters in language, actions, and physical appearance? 
THEME (choose 1 to answer):
  • How universal is (are) the play’s theme(s)? Discuss some of these themes. Do these apply today? How do you feel about these issues in your life? Would you be willing to take desperate measures to speak up against, change, or fight for these themes?
LANGUAGE (choose 1 to answer):
  • 1. How are analogies and metaphors used throughout the play to further plot, character, and theme? Copy your favorite analogies and metaphors in your notes and write a paragraph about how they develop and move the play. 
  • 2. How many puns can be found on one word or image? Locate puns on words and images used in the play. Record some in your notes. Explain how puns and plays on language help to create the humor or tone in the play. 
  • 3. How is language used to portray differences in character, intelligence, place of origin, rank, and gender in the play? List examples and explain their effect. 
  • 4. How does the rhythm of the language differ between the choral odes and the dialogue in the play? Find scenes where stichomythia, short one-liners exchanged between characters, is used to enhance the rhythmic exchange of dialogue and explain its effect on the reader/viewer.
MUSIC (choose 1 to answer):
  • 1. Imagine the choral odes sung by the men’s and women’s choruses. How might singing and dancing these odes add to the comedy of the play? 
  • 2. Why do you suppose Aristotle placed music so low on the priorities of dramatic elements when so much of the play is based in music, dance, and internal rhythm? 
SPECTACLE (choose 1 to answer):
  • 1. Play a director. Keeping in mind the ancient Greek stage, how might the play be staged? Where would the main characters enter? Where would the two choruses enter and per form? How would the gate to the Akropolis be positioned, and how would the men storm the gate? Examine some of the important scenes in the play and consider how these scenes would be staged on a typical Greek Theater stage
  • 2. Considering ancient theater traditions, what special effects might be used in this play? Which scenes would use spectacle. Consider building structures, masks, sound effects, costumes, props, and the passing of time.
Complete your answers by supporting your answers with textual evidence. Homework is due Nov. 28.

Extra Credit: Watch Chi-Raq (2015) by Spike Lee and compare/contrast the contemporary film with the play Lysistrata. As question #7 of your homework, complete your comparison between Spike Lee's film and Lysistrata.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Antigone: Day 3


As we read please examine the play for the following Greek Tragic elements:

As we read, let's pay close attention to the use of: (class discussion or small group discussion)
  • Hamartia (fatal or tragic flaw): what might Antigone's tragic flaw be? Do other characters in the play also have flaws that cause tragedy to occur?
  • Catharsis: why might we feel sorry for Antigone or Kreon or the other characters in the play?
  • Peripety or peripeteia (turning point): when is the moment when Antigone cannot "save" herself by her actions? Are there turning points for other characters?
  • Deus Ex Machina: does the play end with a contrived or obvious ending? If so, what makes the play's ending ineffective? If not, what surprised you about how the play ends?
  • Tragedy: Aristotle suggests that there should be a good character that comes to a bad end. How might Antigone support his theory of tragedy?
  • Dithyramb: What is the effect of the choral odes in this play? What purpose does the chorus play in the story or theme of the tragedy?
  • skene: How is setting and/or entrances/exits of characters used in this play?
  • Choragos or choragus: Where in the play does the choragos act as an individual? With whom does he interact?
  • parados/exodus: At what moment in the play does the chorus enter and exit? 
  • Idea (theme): What themes or messages about human existence occur in the play? What seems to be the message or point of this play? 
  • Contemporary context: can you connect Antigone's behavior/actions with any contemporary or historical figures? If so, who and why?
  • Is Antigone relevant today?
Creative Ideas: small group activity:
  • If you were to write a play about justice/law and its misuse perhaps, how might you tell the story? What scenes or characters would you include?
  • What historical figures since 300 BCE have there been that remind you of Antigone and her determined sacrifice or stubborn civil disobedience? How might the play's theme be different from a play from that perspective? If you updated Antigone today, what would you keep or what would you get rid of?
  • Choose a popular (or not popular) myth that you know (Greek or otherwise) and make an outline for yourself as to how you might turn this myth into a short play. Include 3-5 episodes, a title character/protagonist, an opposition or antagonist, and other characters you feel you would need to tell your story effectively and creatively. 
HOMEWORK: If we did not finish reading Antigone in class, please complete it for homework. Please read the comic one-act Medea by Christopher Durang.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Antigone & Greek Theater

Turn in any homework (God of Carnage, etc.) or borrowed scripts.

Today we will continue our reading of Antigone by Sophocles.

Let's start with an introduction to Greek Theater. Then we'll jigsaw the article on Greek Theater. What elements of Greek theater are still present with us today? Let's discuss.
Then, let's continue reading Antigone together.

As we read, let's pay close attention to the use of:
  • Hamartia (fatal or tragic flaw)
  • Catharsis
  • Peripety or peripeteia (turning point)
  • Deus Ex Machina
  • Tragedy (and comedy)
  • Dithyramb
  • skene
  • Choragos or choragus
  • parados/exodus 
How do these terms/ideas work together to make an effective play-going experience? As we read Antigone, what themes/issues or ideas are presented to us? Why might these ideas be helpful or useful to us at this point in our history?

Creative Ideas:

  • If you were to write a play about justice/law and its misuse perhaps, how might you tell the story? What scenes or characters would you include?
  • What historical figures since 300 BCE have there been that remind you of Antigone and her determined sacrifice or stubborn civil disobedience? How might the play's theme be different from a play from that perspective? If you updated Antigone today, what would you keep or what would you get rid of?
  • Choose a popular (or not popular) myth that you know (Greek or otherwise) and make an outline for yourself as to how you might turn this myth into a short play. Include 3-5 episodes, a title character/protagonist, an opposition or antagonist, and other characters you feel you would need to tell your story effectively and creatively. 
The structure of a Greek play was typically:
  • a prologue leading to a parados (or parode)
  • several episodes (typically 3-5) followed by a choral ode
  • choral odes were typically made up of stasimons, strophes, and antistrophes. (Turn and counterturn toward or away from the altar--stylistically the chorus arguing on a specific point or detail.)
  • an ending or leaving of the chorus (exode) to signal the end of the play


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

God of Carnage: Day 3; Aristotle's Poetics & Ancient Greek Theater

Period 1:

Please complete our viewing of The God of Carnage. As you watch the film based on the play (and when you read the script of the play), examine the characters:
  • Alan Raleigh
  • Annette Raleigh
  • Michael Novak
  • Veronica Novak
Using the character types we discussed last class, argue what kind of character or what role(s) these 4 characters play within the drama. How do they shift or balance or grow or conflict? Which are protagonists or antagonists and when does this role shift in the play/film? Use evidence from the film or play to support your answer. Take notes as you watch/read to help you build your case or answer.

Share your ideas with a neighbor or small group after viewing. Due to elections, rehearsals, and coffeehouse performances, turn in your work today (if you have it done) or Tuesday, Nov. 15. This is an extension on the homework.

After turning in your homework/classwork on the character analysis, please turn in your script. Before we move forward to the beginning of theater, you should know who Yasmina Reza is and what she wrote. Contemporary writer.

Now for something a little ancient:

Period 2:

Aristotle’s Poetics (circa 330 B.C.E.)

Aristotle Introduction

Here's a 20 point summary of the first established literary critic's masterpiece "The Poetics" by Aristotle.
1. People like to imitate and learn.
2. Arts (Epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry, flute-playing, lyre playing) are all modes of imitation. Just as color and form are used by artists, the voice, language, and harmony are used singularly or in combination. IE. Theatrical arts are REPRESENTATIVE of reality, not reality in and of themselves.
3. Objects of imitation should be above our common ilk; characters in a play/subject matter should be of high quality (and scope).
4. Poetry soon broke into two parts: tragedy/comedy. Serious poets would write about serious subjects; Humorous poets would write about frivolous and happy subjects.
5. Tragedy originated out of the dithyramb (choral ode); Comedy out of phallic songs.
6. Aeschylus limited his chorus, introduced the “second” actor, and made the dialogue take the leading part of the play.
7. Sophocles introduced the third actor.
8. As tragedy deals with noble subjects, comedy imitates men worse than average.
9. Tragedy is different from epic (although both are serious) in length, in one kind of verse (narrative form); epic includes tragedy, but tragedy does not necessarily include epic.
10. Aristotle’s six parts of a play:
a. Plot
b. Character
c. Theme (Idea)
d. Spectacle
e. Melody
f. Language (diction)
11. Plays should have a beginning, middle, end
12. Plays should not include so much as to bore, or too little
13. It is better in a tragedy for a good person to come to ruin, rather than a bad person
14. It is better to create catharsis from language and plot, rather than spectacle
15. Characters should have a discovery (anagnorisis) that leads to a turning point or crisis/climax (peripety) (plural peripeties)
16. The chorus should act together as a “character” and integral to the whole
17. Characters should act according to verisimilitude (semblance of reality).
18. Diction should be clear, correct, poetic, but not inessential.
19. Plot should be made up of probable events
20. The poet, being an imitator (like a painter) must represent things either as they are, or as they are said to be, or as they ought to be – which is accomplished by skillful use of language to create a catharsis (emotional purging) in the viewer of a play.
Key Words to Know:
  • Hamartia (fatal or tragic flaw)
  • Catharsis
  • Peripety
  • Deus Ex Machina
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Dithyramb
Play Reading: Begin reading Antigone by Sophocles. Sign up for a role on the role sheet. Let's read the introduction and then begin the play itself. I will have to leave for a meeting with my district accusers half way through the period most likely.

HOMEWORK: Complete the character analysis for God of Carnage if you have not already done so. Please bring your Antigone scripts back with you next class as we continue to discuss Greek Theater.

Monday, November 7, 2016

God of Carnage; Character Types

Period 1/2: Read the reviews and interview handout. What strikes you about the subject, the style of the writing, or the content of the journalism?

Watch the play/film God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, directed by Roman Polanski (2011). Starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christopher Waltz, and John Reilly. The play won a Tony Award for Best Play in 2009.

As stated before, characters are the driving force of a play. Without well designed and depicted characters, a play will certainly fall short. There are some types of characters we want to be intimately familiar with (so that they are 'cast' in our plays):
  • Dynamic characters: characters that change through the events of the play or story.
  • Round characters: characters that are fully developed. They often have contradictory traits. A loving uncle, but a pedophile (How I Learned to Drive), or a wise chauffeur who is illiterate (Driving Miss Daisy), or a cranky old Jewish lady who has a heart of gold (Driving Miss Daisy), a bitter couple who actually love one another, despite their bickering (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf), etc. These characters are interesting because they possess contradictory or conflictual traits or qualities.
  • Confidante: someone in whom a character can confide or speak his/her mind freely.
  • Foil: a character who enhances a quality or trait of a major character or protagonist through contrast.
  • Sympathetic character: a character with whom an audience can identify.
  • Unsympathetic character: a character with whom an audience cannot identify. Usually this character has motives that are questionable, unappealing, or difficult to understand.
  • Ally: a character who helps the protagonist accomplish, achieve, or learn something.
  • Messenger/Herald: Usually a minor character, although not always--this character delivers an important message or brings some sort of external insight to the protagonist.
  • Minor characters: stock characters, spear-carriers, static, flat, cardboard cut-out, stereotype, supporting, allegorical, etc.
How do I develop a character?
  • Know what role the character plays in your play/story.
  • Use characterization: what a character says, what a character says about another character, actions, thoughts, or description. Description is best delivered through dialogue in plays. In fiction, it is delivered by description and imagery.
  • Provide backstory through flashbacks (fiction), or monologues (plays)
As you watch the film based on the play (and when you read the script of the play), examine the characters:
  • Alan Raleigh
  • Annette Raleigh
  • Michael Novak
  • Veronica Novak
Using the list above, argue what kind of character or what role(s) these 4 characters play within the drama. How do they shift or balance or grow or conflict? Which are protagonists or antagonists and when does this role shift in the play/film? Use evidence from the film or play to support your answer. Take notes as you watch/read to help you build your case or answer.

Turn in your analysis at the end of period 1, next class (Thursday, Nov. 10) for credit.

HOMEWORK: Complete your reading of The God of Carnage by Yasmine Reza.

Our Coffeehouse is tonight at 7:00 in the Ensemble Theater. Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Test; MP 1 End; Critique/Review of Charles Busch

Period 1:

Please take your mp exam.

When you finish, please hand in and begin reading working on:

Charles Busch (choose one play in the collection. Read it. Review it.)

Your review should include an introduction (grab our attention), a short summary of the play, An analysis of the play's construction. A paragraph on the play's performance history. A critique from your POV about the effectiveness/writing/construction of the play.

More details to come.

Period 2:

Character exercise.

HOMEWORK: Complete your Charles Busch reading and read as much as we've watched of God of Carnage.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Play Script Brush Up; Charles Busch Reading; Prepare for Friday's Test


Use your time in the lab today to:

A. Complete (or revise/proofread) your 10-minute play. These are due if you had an extension. Or they are late, but better late than never. The end of the marking period is Friday. All work must be completed and turned in by then. If you have missing work, please use your time in class today to complete your work. Chop chop.

B. If you have completed all work, please read one play in the Charles Busch collection: Psycho Beach Party, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Red Scare on Sunset, or The Lady in Question. Each pokes fun at a cinema style or a specific time period (early 1960's beach films, 1950's red menace in Hollywood, 1940's spy thriller, or contemporary turn of the century New York social scene). As you read, pay close attention to dramatic components of its structure: inciting incident, major dramatic question, the major decision, complications, turning point or crisis, dark moment, enlightenment, climax, resolution, catharsis, etc. Keep track of important characters, setting, and plot events as well. Hey, you could write these down as notes!

C. There will be a test on the following Friday. Study:
  • Talking With by Jane Martin
  • Spic-o-Rama by John Leguizamo
  • 'Night Mother by Marsha Norman
  • Oleanna by David Mamet
  • The Dutchman by Amiri Baraka
  • The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel
  • Learning to Drive by Paula Vogel
  • Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
  • The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam
  • The Vampire Lesbians of Sodom by Charles Busch
  • Premise
  • The 4 types of conflict
  • Structural unity 
  • monologues/soliloquies
  • beats, scenes, acts
  • Major dramatic question
  • The inciting incident
  • Major decision
  • Rising action, complications, crisis/turning point
  • Dark moment
  • Enlightenment
  • Climax
  • Catharsis
  • Monodramas or monologue plays
  • Adversaries (different types)
  • Tips about writing dialogue, playwriting, writing for the stage
  • Status quo & building a plot
  • Cross dressing, Pantomime, Commedia Dell'Arte
  • Comedy characteristics
  • 10-minute play structure
Please bring any script copies with you to next class so you can return them to me or the library. 

HOMEWORK: None. There is a test. The end of the marking period is Friday.

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...