- Class: The Long Good One-Act
- Time: Mondays 7:30 to 8:30 pm (Oct. 5th-Dec. 7th)
- Place: The Theatre at St. Claude (2240 St. Claude)
- Instructor: Jim Fitzmorris (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Cost: 300.00 (150.00 for members of Critical Engagement)
- Remaining spots: 9
- To complete a series of exercises deliberately designed to allow you to complete the first draft of a full-length play.
- Through workshops and rewriting, you will successfully complete a second draft.
- Working with both the class and outside actors, you will begin the process of moving your play to the stage in The Spring of next year.
The three steps outlined above are all undertaken to successfully complete a full-length one-act play for production at The Theatre at St. Claude.
The title says it all. We are throwing you in the deep end. By the end of this ten week process, you will have completed a 20 to 30-page one-act.
This class will begin with a writing exercise designed to help you craft a destination for your play. You will contrive an ending for your drama before writing anything else. While not a fixed point, this ending will serve as a guide for your writing and, hopefully, remove some of the anxiety that lies in the question, with apologies to George Jetson, “how do I get off this crazy thing?!”
From there, you will outline a series of beats, shifts in the dramatic action, that help you arrive upon or alter your contrived ending. We hope these two exercises make it clear that plotting is a crucial part of the design of this class. Not all plays need be subservient to plot, but all plays must have a plot, or they are something other than a play.
Having crafted an ending and an outline, you will return to your ending and make the necessary changes so that your outline and ending seem to have a forward moving logic.
From there, the real writing will begin. Dialogue and stage directions will shape character and those characters will in turn effect the destination of your originally contrived ending. Do not panic; it is part of the design. There is nothing wrong with a contrived play: all plays are contrivances. However, there is something wrong with a forced play. The initial exercises were meant to jumpstart your writing not lock you into a particular form. At its most basic form, the structure of your work in class should look like this…
- Contrived Ending
- Outline of Play
- First Draft
- Reading of First Draft
- Final Draft
Of course, I have expectations of you. Having shown you our hand by removing the mystery from our methodology, we have a request: make a leap of faith in both your classmates and me. Be open to all critiques and ideas that are offered. I recommend listening intently and writing down the opinions of the table. It is helpful if you only speak by way of asking questions of clarification rather than defending your work.
On the other end of the equation, as constructive critics of the work, you must always begin by asking the question of yourself, “what was this play trying to accomplish?” rather than “helping” another author write the play you had in mind.
Needless to say, since we only meet a few times and by appointment, attendance is an imperative.
How will this class work? After the initial exercises, we will figure out deadlines for your play and schedule appointments. Assess yourself honestly before agreeing to a date as the size of this class leaves little room for maneuver. Make sure you copy enough texts for me and your classmates and that the format is impeccable.
When you are on the critiquing end, honor your fellow student by reading their work as the assignment for that day. Be prepared to talk. Silence is disheartening in a writing seminar… unless it is the silence of awe.