Living On-Stage: Playwright/Designer Collaboration
with James Ijames, Maria Shaplin, and Rebecca Wright
Join director/creator Rebecca Wright, designer/creator Maria Shaplin and director/playwright/creator
James Ijames for an in-depth exploration of how playwrights and designers collaborate to making visceral, unforgettable moments of incendiary theatricality. This multi-week workshop will include both theoretical discussions and hands-on activities. Students will collaborate with each other to put the theory into practice, and then share their work and receive feedback from their peers as well as Ijames, Wright, and Shaplin. This class is limited to 8 playwrights and 8 designers.
Design plays a major role in the life of every play, yet playwrights and designers rarely talk with each other directly. This class will cultivate the rich and mutually beneficial relationship between text and design by facilitating collaboration between designers and playwrights. All sessions will involve designers and playwrights meeting together and engaging in collaborative exercises. Some of these will ask everyone to step outside their comfort zones: designers will be asked to write and playwrights will be asked to make. Others will ask everyone to learn from each others' expertise: designers will practice design-driven dramaturgical feedback and playwrights will practice production-oriented questions and analysis. All will ask participants to work together on developing the language and design-world of a text through readings, exercises, and discussion. The final session will involve presentations of the pieces and a group reflection on process and the potentials of the playwright-designer relationship.
Perfect for intermediate and advanced writers and designers.
Materials: Everyone should bring something to write with and on to all sessions, as well as laptops or tablets for research. (Please charge your electronics in-advance as there are limited plugs in the classrooms.) Writers are invited to bring a script they want to play with, can be a work-in-progress, but need not be.
WHEN: Tuesdays February 24, March 3, March 10, and March 17, 6-9pm
WHERE: University of the Arts, Terra Building (at Broad and Walnut Sts), Room 608
James Ijames is a Philadelphia-based actor and playwright. He has appeared regionally at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage and Interact Theatre Company. James' plays include The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington, Moon Man Walk, The Threshing Floor, and Osiris:Redux. ...Miz Martha was developed with PlayPenn and the Wilma Theater and received its world premiere with Flashpoint Theater. His play Moon Man Walk received a reading with Azuka Theater Company. James was the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he also won two Barrymores for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America. In 2011, James received an Independence Foundation Fellowship in Performing Arts to train and create a new solo piece with Emmanuelle Depech and Shavon Norris called FRoNTiN. James is a member of the InterAct Core Writers Group and a mentor for The Foundry. He received a BA in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a MFA in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia. James is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia.
Maria Shaplin is a Philadelphia-based lighting designer who received her MFA from Temple University. She has a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Hampshire College. Maria started her theatrical career as the resident lighting designer for The Riot Group, with whom she has toured all over the world, with month-long engagements in London and New York, and other notable engagements at the Stuttgart Festival in Germany, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and an extensive UK tour. Maria is also the co-founder and lead designer of Applied Mechanics, a company who devises immersive, multi-narrative performance art. Critically-acclaimed works include: Pugilist Specialist with The Riot Group (2004), Freedom Club with New Paradise Laboratories (2010), Lady M with Swim Pony Performing Arts (2011), Vainglorious with Applied Mechanics (2012), 17 Border Crossings with Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental (2013), The Ballad of Joe Hill with Swim Pony Performing Arts (2013) and Circle Mirror Transformation with Theater Horizon (2014).
"Maria is a designer whose work expands the director's playing field by multitudes. She deeply considers the works she engages in and offers design impulses and insights into dramatic content that not only support the work of the rehearsal room but allow it to deepen in ways that it could not have otherwise. Her work in The Ballad of Joe Hill was as much a storytelling role as the performers themselves. She's the kind of collaborator that once you find, it's hard to go back to any other way of working." -Adrienne Mackey, director/writer/creator
Rebecca Wright is a Philadelphia-based director and the artistic director of immersive theater company Applied Mechanics. Recent projects include Sarah Flood in Salem Mass at The Flea, 17 Border Crossings with Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental, Sophie Gets the Horns with The Riot Group, and the radical installation punk play with music We Are Bandits with Applied Mechanics. Rebecca has directed for PlayPenn, InterAct Theatre Company, First Person Arts, and SoLow Festival. She has worked with students at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, the University of the Arts, Temple University, Arcadia University, Swarthmore College, and the University of Minnesota. She is a member of Artists U, a recipient of an Independence Fellowship and her production of Jacqueline Goldfinger's Slip/Shot at Flashpoint won the 2012 Brown Martin/Philadelphia Award.