N is a new student of mine, one who has worked in the theater industry for years, but never written a play before. He called me before our first week of class, and I could tell he was feeling intimidated by the process of playwriting. We discussed some exercises he could do and some of his favorite plays and playwrights, and I think I assuaged the majority of his concerns. His one lingering reservation:
Aristotle’s Poetics. Horace’s Ars Poetica. Freytag’s diagram. Syd Field’s paradigm. Frank Daniel’s sequence approach. For more than two millennia dramatic theorists have sought to trace, map and/or illustrate the shape and technical elements of a story told in dramatic form.
I’ve got a lot to gain by leaving my own borders every now and then. So maybe it’s time for me to read something other than plays. Time to step out of my zone and experience different things for a while. As I’m putting together my summer reading list, I’m going to select some good novels, some collections of short stories and yes, some poetry. And for Diana, a memoir or two.
Goddard MFAW faculty Deborah Brevoort gave her Fall 2016 advising group the extraordinary opportunity to connect with the prolific writer, Kirsten Childs. Her credentials span various works, but we had the pleasure of examining her musical, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin. This is a funny and poignant story about a little black girl named Viveca Stanton and her journey of self-discovery.
Goddard College MFAW faculty Deb Brevoort: When I asked my friends why they wanted to cancel our season tickets (or not go to the theatre at all) they gave me a variety of answers. Here are some of the things they’ve said: The plays didn’t “grab them.” The shows were “boring.” They “wanted to feel moved, but didn’t.” One friend complained that the plays we were seeing didn’t have an “aha” moment;” another said that they wanted “something more;” another said “where’s the take-way?” Many of them said that they wanted to be “left with something,” and the plays we were attending didn’t leave them with anything.