Intro to Playwriting: Do you have a great idea for the theatrical stage? Curious to try your hand at playwriting? Maybe you need refresher in the company of a supportive community. Over the course of five weeks, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the art of playwriting. With craft-based lessons, writing exercises, generative writing, group discussions, and breakout rooms to get to know your fellow cohort better. There will be weekly out-of-class reading assignments of plays by a collection of diverse (both in identity and style) contemporary playwrights such as Charly Evon Simpson, Kristoffer Díaz, and Qui Nguyen. In this class, you are sure to develop a stronger hand at world building, character development, plot, dialogue, and all the magic that is theatre. By week three, you will have the opportunity to hear your work read aloud by your peers, receive both on-the-spot feedback as well as extensive feedback from your instructor. You should also expect to have a one-on-one meeting with the instructor to talk about your work as well as answer any questions on an individual level. By the end of the course, you will come away with a collection of monologues, scenes with stage directions, and a final draft of a ten-minute play. In parting, you will receive a list of curated resources for dramatists to keep you moving forward, as well as a non-exhaustive list of submission and development opportunities for your work.
WEEK ONE: Fundamentals of Playwriting: Review the necessary elements of the page for the stage. You will learn script format and craft vocabulary such as monologue, dialogue, stage directions, structure, arcs, etc.
WEEK TWO: Character and Dialogue: We'll talk about how to create dimensional characters. Ensembles. And even characters outside of traditional realism.
WEEK THREE: Structure/Plot: Structure is simply how a story is organized. Plot is what happens. This week will focus on those two distinctions. It will equip with techniques for both plot driven, and character driven writers, and even push you to write in the middle of that binary.
WEEK FOUR: Arcs, Beats, and Action: Most contemporary plays these days are limited to 10 minutes, 90 minutes, and 120 minute structures. You will learn which arcs and structures are best for the stories you want to tell, and how to pace each effectively.
WEEK FIVE: Theatricality: Lean intro writing for the stage, actors, designers, and what it means to write for a living, breathing audience.
Between Week 5 and Week 6: Individual one-on-one meetings with the instructor.
WEEK SIX: Revision Techniques: Best revision practices. Collaborating with actors, directors, designers, and theaters. Submission process. The road to production.
KIRA ROCKWELL is a neurodivergent playwright and educator. She is an Artist Fellow in Dramatic Writing with the Mass Cultural Council, a Recipient of Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award, Second place recipient of the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, and more. Selected plays include OH TO BE PURE AGAIN (world premiere Actor's Express); THE TRAGIC ECSTASY OF GIRLHOOD (workshop premiere Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); and WITH MY EYES SHUT (published with Original Works). Her work has been developed with The Kennedy Center, National New Play Network, Great Plains Theatre Commons, among others. Commissions with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actor's Express, and Moonbox Productions. She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance, and an MFA in Playwriting from Boston University. As an educator, Rockwell has taught at Brandeis University, Wheaton College, and centers across New England. Before graduate school, Rockwell worked at the intersection of mental health and arts education. Through a trauma-informed, healing-centered lens, she aims to nurture communal spaces that disrupt passivity and empower agency. www.kirarockwell.com