Playwriting cannot occur in isolation. It requires an openness to the art of collaboration, not just with other theatre artists, but with your audience, and with the long lineage of theatre artists who preceded you. As Sarah Ruhl put it “when you’re writing a play, you’re creating a template for people to do things together.” In that spirit, this class is built around a holistic examination of playwriting, and its relationship to all the other theatrical disciplines. We’ll focus on how to write material that gives actors, directors, and designers the tools they need to bring your words to life. We’ll read and discuss some seminal playwrights, as well as some of the most exciting new voices on the American stage, to get a feel for the different styles and conventions of theatre through the ages and they persist in contemporary theatre. We’ll engage in writing exercises around dialogue, monologue, character building, and adaptation for the stage. We’ll also discuss where and how to submit plays for production. Each student will receive written editorial critiques on a work of their choice, and be given the chance to have their writing workshopped in class.
Brendan Bourque-Sheil is a Houston-based playwright and storyteller. His plays have been produced in Houston and Chicago, by Stages Repertory Theatre, The Landing Theatre Company, and Death and Pretzels, among others. He’s a regular contributor to the monthly live show Grown-Up Storytime and KPFT’s So What’s Your Story? As a Literary Associate for The Landing Theatre Company, Brendan specializes in new play development opportunities for Houston playwrights. He also teaches for the Alley Theatre and the Kinder High School of Performing and Visual Arts.