Monday, November 24, 2008

Playwrighting Class

Tonight I finished an 8-week Playwrighting class. There were about ten of us, and we came from all walks of life. One lady had always wanted to write a one-woman show. Another woman owned her own catering business, and had been taking writing classes for several years. There was a man who worked all night at the post office, and an older man who had been in theatre his whole life. There were several actors who wanted to try their hand at the art of Playwrighting. And there were people who have had plays published and just needed a jump start. That would be me.

I'm not sure what motivates a person to want to write a play. I mean, why not a novel? Or a short story? What is it about creating a world that people may some day come and watch that is so thrilling? And news flash: there aren't big bucks for most Playwrights. I know, I know. I was shocked too.

It was fascinating to listen to the plays that each person was working on. Every week we would listen to about twenty pages of someone's script. There was a very intense man who was writing a play in which a man was being interrogated by a Priest. It was riveting and violent. He created a world that there was no escaping, and that any of us might find ourselves in if we made the wrong choice.

A women who is a professional opera singer wrote a play that was about the most disfunctional family I have ever heard of trying to have a nice, family Christmas. It was hysterical. And we could all relate.

Another play was about an old man dying in a nursing home for Vets. He was tortured by the visions he had seen during World War II. We all felt the pain and agony that he was experiencing, wanted to help him, but knew there was only one way for him to find peace.

My play was about a reunion of girlfriends. The premise is that they get together for a film that is being made about what happens over time to women who were once best friends. A lot of things go wrong: food is burnt, a busy-body neighbor keeps bothering them, secrets are revealed, but ultimately they all make discoveries about each other, themselves, and what is really important in life. I'm hoping it will be brilliant someday.

There was a quiet, handsome guy with a twinkle in his eye that wrote a murder mystery. His characters romped, gossiped, flirted, had affairs, and then BAM! Someone was killed. But by whom? Unfortunately we ran out of time to finish our plays, but we have all promised each other that we are going to get together in a few months and hear them.

In the meantime, I will continue to work on my play. A play that may never be seen, but that lives in my imagination, that is real to me, with characters whom I care about, laugh with, and enjoy. I can think of worse ways to spend one's time.

1 comment:

CGabriel said...

I believe people write plays for the same reason people teach: To give. To give of one's self in a way others may learn about themselves and/or grow within their own field of study or profession.

No one becomes a playwright, an actor, a dancer or, Heaven forbid, a radio talk show host with the idea he/she is going to buy a winter chalet in the Swiss Alps after a few years of work in the field. Rather, we enter the arts because we have a passion to share a part, or more, or ourselves in ways that allow others to live through us - the characters we've written, the characters we're playing or the voice in the car radio they want to engage in a dialogue.

The Shared Journey, as it were. And in the case of that new play you're working on, what better way to spend some time when the snow is falling, the fire is burning, the husband is reading and the hot chocolate is at the perfect temperature than to hang out with all of those characters and find out what's new in each of their lives.


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