In the past year, I’ve been working on a stage play, based on Kafka’s Metamorphosis, but set in the present day, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the world’s only gotten more Kafkaesque since the time he was writing. This makes Kafka’s style a fun and fascinating color palette to paint with with when exploring contemporary issues, from the political (i.e., criminal justice, modern healthcare, climate change, the current job market) to the personal (physical illness, mental illness, family dynamics, examining and owning our power as individuals). This class invites you to experiment with Kafka’s style, in the writing of your own stories. We’ll overview the elements that make Kafka’s voice so bold, singular, and enduring (themes, character types, tone, world-building, etc) and explore how we can harness those elements in writing original works that enrich our voices and capture our present.
Brendan Bourque-Sheil is a writer of plays and prose. His plays include The Book of Maggie (World Premiere at Stages Theatre, Chicago Premiere at Death and Pretzels Theatre Company), Between Two Caves (The Landing Theatre Company) and Sunrise Coven (World Premiere this Spring at Stages Theatre). He has served as Playwright-in-Residence and Literary Associate for The Landing Theatre Company, overseeing new play development for Houston playwrights. He has been a finalist for the Reva Shiner Comedy Award, the Houston Press Best New Play Award, and Southwest Theatre Productions’ “Plays With a Strong Female Lead” Competition. He’s a writer-in-residence for The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, and a member of the Rec Room Writers Group. As a storyteller, he has appeared on World Channel’s Stories from the Stage, Tell & Act’s Story Night at Club Passim, and KPFT’s So What’s Your Story. He frequently contributes to the monthly live storytelling show Grown-up Storytime. For six years, he has worked as a teaching artist for The Alley Theatre, and a consultant in Creative Writing for the Kinder High School of Performing and Visual Arts. He hosted and produced The Landing Theatre New Works Podcast.
Grackle image by Inna Dzhanibekova.