“Don’t make a wall of glass between your play and the people watching. Don’t forget they were once children, who enjoyed being read to, or sung to sleep.” – Sarah Ruhl
Playwrights have the enormous joy and responsibility of writing a blueprint: the origin of what will hopefully become a collaboration between actors, directors, and designers. The words on their pages need to exude so much life that the average reader may imagine the final product, fully formed. Playwriting is where architecture and alchemy meet.
In this nine-week workshop course, we will build a supportive writer’s room focused on theatrical exploration and experimentation, particularly through the lenses of character and setting. Time will be divided between the joint study of invigorating scenes from new playwrights in the professional sphere, as well as generative exercises and individual, close workshopping of pages written by the participants. First time playwrights (often disguised as fiction writers or screenwriters yearning to try their hand!) are welcome, as well as intermediate and advanced playwrights. The capstone goal for the course is the completion of a new ten minute play to be shared internally with the group. Actors from Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company will appear in guest readings for the final celebration.
Elizabeth Ann Michaela Keel is a native Houstonian, as well as a playwright, director, actress, dramaturg, producer, novelist, and teacher. Her plays have been read or produced by Shattered Globe Theatre, Rec Room, Otherworld Theatre Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, Mildred’s Umbrella, METdance, Squeaky Bicycle, Landing Theatre Company, Cone Man Running, This Is Water Theatre, Nova Arts Project, Fresh Produce’d (NYC), and 14 Pews, among others. She has published two novels for adults, and currently works as a teaching artist for Stages Repertory Theatre and Writers in the Schools. Her master’s thesis work focused on the encouragement of meaningful science fiction onstage. Her play Corona was invited to the inaugural Science Fiction Theatre symposium at the University of Toronto. She is proud to serve as an Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild, the Story Captain for lo-fi puppets, and as a script reader for the Alley Theatre. Some of her most important work has been mentoring young playwrights during her time with the education department at the Alley, Stages Repertory, and at the University of Houston. Upcoming projects may be found at elizabethamkeel.com.