Monthly Archives :

    April 2019

    Playwriting for Playgoers with John Yearley

    640 433 Play Penn

    After taking this class you will never look at a play the same way again.

    Any theatregoer can tell you about a play they saw that they’ll never forget. But how much do even lifelong theatregoers know about the art of playwriting itself? Playwriting for Playgoers will mix the educational and the experiential so that students will really understand the practice and experience of playwriting. First, we will read and discuss a great play, breaking down how and why it works so well. Then we will do exercises to explore how you write for plays, how you write in the voice of other characters and create conflicts that reveal their deepest truths.

    July 10 and July 16, 6:30 – 9:30pm

    Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street

    Please read The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams in advance of class.

    John Yearley is the author of The Unrepeatable Moment (“Thought provoking…exhilarating…painfully hilarious” – New York Times, “Yearley is a master” – Huffington Post), Leap (Mickey Kaplan New American Play Prize), Ephemera (John Gassner Award), Another Girl (PlayPenn), and Bruno Hauptmann Kissed My Forehead (Abingdon Theatre). His latest play, Eight Minutes, Twenty Seconds, was workshopped by LABryinth Theatre Company and performed at Temple University. Work for young audiences include The Last Wish (Macy’s New Play Prize for Young Audiences) and an adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone. Short plays All in Little Pieces and A Low-Lying Fog are available through Samuel French. He currently writes for the animated TV show Treasure Trekkers. Previous TV/film work include the PBS Kids show Arthur, and a stint as a “script doctor” for New Line Cinema. He teaches playwriting and TV writing at Temple University, Drexel University, and the Barrow Group in NYC. Member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild, and twice a MacDowell Fellow.

    $125

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    “PlayPenn instructors genuinely care about helping students improve their writing, and have the practical experience to back up what they teach.”

    -Mark C., 2018 Student

    “I was nervous, but excited before I took this class. And I was very excited when it was finished. I can’t wait to write!”

    -Michelle P., 2018 Student

    21-Hour Summer Playtime Intensive with L M Feldman

    640 433 Play Penn

    Write, play, and discover with PlayPenn instructor L M Feldman in this immersive summer intensive.

    We’ll spend each session in the spark and buzz that comes from writing a lot in a short period of time among a community of other writers who are doing it with you. Each time we meet, we’ll have a prompt or two to run with, a hefty chunk of time to write, and then time at the end for half of the class to share their writing aloud and hear immediate responses on what’s landing, what’s exciting, what we’re hungry for more of. Prompts will be open-ended enough to use however is most useful to you — so feel free to come with a play in mind that you’ve been meaning to write, a half-finished play you’re craving to finish drafting, or utterly fresh and open to just saying a radical yes to whatever ideas come up from each prompt, and then writing to see where they take you!

    July 29, July 31, August 2, August 5: 5:30pm-9:30pm

    August 12: 5:30pm-10:30pm

    Rehearsal Room at the Drake Theatre 

    L M Feldman is a queer, feminist playwright (and circus artist) who pens plays that are wildly theatrical but deeply intimate. Formally ambitious plays that move, take up space. Plays that are questing, wrestling, asking. Plays without answers. Plays about women and queers, plays about outsiders and searchers. Plays grappling with voice and agency, opportunity and access, history and its wake. Plays about the human connection. Plays that seek to be a greater, communal, rare theatrical event in which something transcendent transpires – for those both onstage & off. Her plays include THRIVE, OR WHAT YOU WILL (Page 73 Residency, New Georges Audrey Residency); ANOTHER KIND OF SILENCE (Magic Theatre Virgin Play Festival, PlayPenn Conference, Playwrights Realm Fellowship, FEWW Prize Honorable Mention); AMANUENSIS (Georgetown University); A PEOPLE (Orbiter 3, Jewish Plays Project); THE EGG-LAYERS (Jane Chambers Honorable Mention, New Georges/Barnard College commission); GRACE, OR THE ART OF CLIMBING (Denver Center, Art House Productions, Nice People Theatre, ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award Nomination, Barrymore Nomination); ensemble-devised works, including GUMSHOE (New Paradise Labs + Free Library of Philadelphia + Rosenbach Museum), WAR OF THE WORLDS: PHILADELPHIA (Swim Pony + Drexel University), AND IF YOU LOSE YOUR WAY, OR A FOOD ODYSSEY (The Invisible Dog, New York Innovative Theatre Award Nomination), and others; and a baker’s dozen of short plays. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, L is also a New Georges Affiliated Artist, a devised-work collaborator, a teacher of playwriting (Bryn Mawr College, Lantern Theatre/Jefferson Medical School, PlayPenn), and a freelance dramaturg.

    $450

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    “PlayPenn instructors genuinely care about helping students improve their writing, and have the practical experience to back up what they teach.”

    -Mark C., 2018 Student

    “I was nervous, but excited before I took this class. And I was very excited when it was finished. I can’t wait to write!”

    -Michelle P., 2018 Student

    Creating Character with Sheri Wilner

    640 433 Play Penn

    Whether you’re revising a play, or beginning a new one, or have a character but no story, the course’s exercises and discussions will apply to you.

    Have your plays ever received one or more of these critiques: “I want to know more about your main character; ” “I don’t understand your protagonist’s objective;” “She’s so passive, what does she want?” or “We need more backstory”? If so, this weekend-long intensive is designed to help you avert such criticism by creating lucid yet complicated three-dimensional characters. Together we’ll work on multiple in-class and at-home writing exercises that help us develop a deep understanding of our character’s wants and needs, psychology and back stories and then how to transmit that understanding to audiences through action and dialogue rather than exposition. Wilner’s class will deepen your knowledge of your current characters and provide tools to create vivid, distinct, three-dimensional characters in your future work.

    Saturday and Sunday, August 10 and 11, 1-5pm

    Young Playwrights Independence Foundation Learning Lab (1219 Vine Street, 2nd Floor: there are stairs and an elevator from the lobby)

    Students will need to come to class having read a play so that we can share a common vocabulary, and to do one short writing exercise in advance. There may be homework overnight.

    Sheri Wilner’s plays include Kingdom City, Bake Off, Father Joy, Relative Strangers, Labor Day, Joan of Arkansas, The End, A Tall Order, Equilibrium, Little Death of a Salesman, and Hunger, and have been performed at such major theatres as the La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Guthrie Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, City Theatre (Miami), Naked Angels, Primary Stages, New Georges, Contemporary American Theatre Festival and Old Vic/New Voices in London. Her work has been published in over a dozen anthologies and have received over four hundred productions across the United States as well as in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, United Kingdom and India. Also an established playwriting teacher, Sheri is currently on the faculty of New York University, the Dramatists Guild Institute and is the Master Playwright for the Miami Dade Department of Cultural 2017-19 Playwrights Development Program.

    $170

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    “PlayPenn instructors genuinely care about helping students improve their writing, and have the practical experience to back up what they teach.”

    -Mark C., 2018 Student

    “I was nervous, but excited before I took this class. And I was very excited when it was finished. I can’t wait to write!”

    -Michelle P., 2018 Student

    An Evening with Ayad Akhtar and J.T. Rogers: Politcal Theater in the United States

    640 356 Play Penn

    Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to learn from these influential and legendary writers at PlayPenn.

    Internationally acclaimed playwrights Ayad Akhtar (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award Nomination, Disgraced; The Who and the What, Junk)  and J.T. Rogers (The Overwhelming, Blood and Gifts; Tony Award, Oslo, PlayPenn Conference, 2015) have transformed the American theater scene with their searingly political works, which have been produced all over the world. In this one-night only session, Rogers and Akhtar will cover everything from the nitty-gritty of playwriting to broader questions about the American and world theatre.

    June 24, 2019; 7-10pm

    Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street

    Ayad Akhtar is the author of Junk (Lincoln Center, Broadway; 2018 Kennedy Prize for American Drama); Disgraced (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony nomination); The Who & The What (Lincoln Center); and The Invisible Hand (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, Olivier and Evening Standard nominations). As a novelist, he is the author of American Dervish (Little, Brown & Co.) published in over 20 languages. Recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2017 Steinberg Playwriting Award, 2017 Nestroy Award, as well as fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, the Sundance Institute, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. He is a Board Trustee at PEN/America and New York Theatre Workshop.

    J.T. Rogers’s plays include Oslo (Lincoln Center Theater, then Broadway; National Theatre, London, then West End); Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center Theater; National Theatre); The Overwhelming (National Theatre, then UK tour with Out of Joint; Roundabout Theatre); White People (Off Broadway with Starry Night Productions); and Madagascar (Theatre 503, London; Melbourne Theatre Company). He is a three-time PlayPenn Conference writer, where he developed Oslo (PlayPenn, 2015), Blood and Gifts (PlayPenn, 2009), and The Overwhelming (PlayPenn, 2005). For Oslo he won the Tony, New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lortel, and Obie awards, and was nominated for the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards. As one of the playwrights for the Tricycle Theatre of London’s The Great Game: Afghanistan he was also nominated for an Olivier Award. His works have been staged throughout the United States and in Germany, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Israel, and Norway. Rogers’s essays have been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, and the New Statesman. He is a Guggenheim fellow and has received three NYFA fellowships in playwriting. Rogers is a member of the Dramatists Guild, where he is a founding board member of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund. He is an alum of New Dramatists and holds an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

    Tuition: $50

    Student price: $30 (must present valid student ID at the event)

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    “PlayPenn instructors genuinely care about helping students improve their writing, and have the practical experience to back up what they teach.”

    -Mark C., 2018 Student

    “I was nervous, but excited before I took this class. And I was very excited when it was finished. I can’t wait to write!”

    -Michelle P., 2018 Student

    Diving into the PlayPenn Conference with Michele Volansky

    1024 681 Play Penn

    In celebration of PlayPenn's 15th Anniversary New Play Development Conference, join Associate Artistic Director and Conference Dramaturg Michele Volansky in an exploration of the six extraordinary plays in our 2019 roster.

    This course will meet to discuss each of the Conference plays during their second week of public readings, teasing out thematic links and talking through the Conference season as a whole. Students will also read the starting drafts of each script, examining how the projects grow and evolve over the course of the Conference.

    Class: Tuesday, 7/16: 7-8pm (online)

    Attend Reading: STRANGE MEN on 7/25 at 7pm

    Class: Thursday, 7/25, 9-10p

    Attend Reading: THE PIPER on 7/26 at 8pm

    Class: Saturday, 7/27: 12:30-1:30pm

    Attend Reading: INCENDIARY at 4pm and ARCHIPELAGO at 8pm on 7/27

    Class: Sunday, 7/28: 11:30a-1:30pm

    Attend Reading: CAVE CANEM at 2pm and WAYFINDING at 5pm on 7/28

    Class: Monday, 7/29: 6-8pm (online)

     

    A seat will be reserved for you at each of the Conference readings listed above.

    The Drake Theater, Center City Philadelphia (locations TBD) and online

    Each student will be required to read six scripts and attend the six Conference readings (final week) as part of the course, and will have a seat reserved as part of their registration.

    Michele Volansky is Chair and Associate Professor of Drama at Washington College (MD), from which she earned a B.A. in English. She has worked on nearly 200 new and established plays in her professional career, developing new works by such writers as Sam Shepard, Daniel Stern, Warren Leight, Jeffrey Hatcher, Bruce Graham, Tina Landau, Charles L. Mee and Bruce Norris, along with many others. Her work on Shepard’s rewrite of Buried Child (directed by Gary Sinise) and Dale Wasserman’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (directed by Terry Kinney and starring Gary Sinise) earned her two Broadway credits and participation in the Tony Award for Best Revival of Cuckoo’s Nest. She has guest dramaturged at the Arden Theater Company, South Coast Rep, the Atlantic Theatre Company, Victory Gardens and Next Theatre, in addition to her staff time at Actors Theatre of Louisville (1992-95), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (1995-2000) and Philadelphia Theatre Company (2000-2004). Her own play Whispering City was produced as part of the Steppenwolf Arts Exchange Program in the Fall of 1999. Since its inception, Dr. Volansky has served as Conference Dramaturg and Associate Artist for the Philadelphia-based new play development conference PlayPenn. She has served as an artistic consultant for the TCG playwright residency program, a reader for the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference and the New York Shakespeare Festival/The Joseph Papp Public Theatre’s Emerging Voices Program, as well as a grants review panelist for Philadelphia-area arts organizations. She is the 1999 inaugural co-recipient of the Elliot Hayes Award for Dramaturgy and was the President of LMDA, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (2002-2004). Volansky’s book on playwriting and collaboration with Bruce Graham entitled The Collaborative Playwright was published in March, 2007 by Heinemann Press. She holds an M.A. from Villanova University and a PhD from the University of Hull (England); her dissertation explores the politics and advocacy of the critics Kenneth Tynan and Frank Rich.

    $135

    Tuition

    Register Here

    Click the link below to visit our Reservation Page, where you can view all classes and register for this course. For questions or to inquire about payment plans, please email classes@playpenn.org.

    “PlayPenn instructors genuinely care about helping students improve their writing, and have the practical experience to back up what they teach.”

    -Mark C., 2018 Student

    “I was nervous, but excited before I took this class. And I was very excited when it was finished. I can’t wait to write!”

    -Michelle P., 2018 Student

    HOW A BOY FALLS by Steven Dietz

    150 150 Play Penn

    Playwright Steven Dietz. Photo by John Ullman.

    PlayPenn is pleased to host a public reading of a new play, How a Boy Falls, by Steven Dietz.

    When: June 3, 2019 at 7:00PM
    Please note there will be no late seating at this performance.

    Where: The Bob and Selma Horan Studio Theatre at the Arden’s Hamilton Family Center, located at 62 N. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

    How a Boy Falls

    By Steven Dietz

    Director: Anne Marie Cammarato

    Dramaturgs: Michele Volansky and Paul Meshejian

     

    The loss of a young boy casts suspicion on his newly-hired au pair, as well as on the wealthy parents who have hired her.  As the parents seek revenge upon one another, the young au pair is hatching a plot of her own.  How a Boy Falls is a psychological thriller about the way in which past events can be weaponized to shape the present.

     

    This reading is free and open to the public.  

     

    Tickets will be available up until 4pm the day of the reading. After 4pm, tickets will be available at the door.

    Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

    Steven Dietz‘s thirty-plus plays and adaptations have been seen at over one hundred regional theatres in the United States, as well as Off-Broadway. International productions have been seen in over twenty countries, including recently in Brazil, Thailand, South Africa, Estonia and Iran. His work has been translated into a dozen languages. Recent world premieres include Bloomsday (Steinberg New Play Award Citation); This Random World (Humana Festival of New American Plays); Rancho Mirage (Edgerton New Play Award), and On Clover Road (NNPN “rolling world premiere”). His interlocking plays for adult and youth audiences (The Great Beyond and The Ghost of Splinter Cove) recently premiered in Charlotte, NC. A two-time winner of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award (Fiction, Still Life with Iris), Dietz is also a two-time finalist for the American Theatre Critic’s Steinberg New Play Award (Last of the Boys, Becky’s New Car). He received the PEN USA West Award in Drama for Lonely Planet, and the Edgar Award® for Drama for Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. Currently a Dramatists Guild “Traveling Master”, Dietz teaches workshops in playwriting and story-making across the U.S. He and his wife, playwright Allison Gregory, divide their time between Seattle and Austin.

    HOMERIDAE by Alexandra Espinoza

    150 150 Play Penn

    Twice a year PlayPenn provides a free, professional public reading for a currently enrolled studentHomeridae by Alexandra Espinoza is the recipient of our spring semester play selection.

    When:
    May 13, 2019
    Time: 7pm

    Where:
    The Proscenium Theater at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA

     

    Mac, an adjunct lecturer, and Nessa, a freshman, have a lot in common. They’re slightly awkward, deeply passionate about Homer’s The Odyssey, and are both African-Americans in a very white department at a very white school. They stumble upon the discovery that Homer himself came from Africa and must figure out how best to honor this in the face of conservative administrators, overbearing older siblings, the Internet, and Homer himself. HOMERIDAE is a play about stories, language, knowledge, and loss; and about finding your voice when it seems like no one is listening.

     

    This reading is free and open to the public.  

     

    Reservations end at 4pm the day of the reading. Seats will be available at the door.

     

    Questions? Contact mail@playpenn.org

    Alexandra Espinoza is a Philadelphia based theatre artist whose work aims to connect creative power to community voices. Performance credits include work with Orbiter 3 and Azuka Theatre. As a playwright, she is a first-year member of the Foundry at PlayPenn, and her plays have received productions and readings with Juniper Productions. Alexandra practices dramaturgy as community engagement and serves as the inaugural “communiturg” at Simpatico Theatre. Additional dramaturgy and directing credits include work with Azuka Theatre, Inis Nua Theatre, and PlayPenn. She is a resident teaching artist at Philadelphia Young Playwrights and has facilitated the creative work of people aged seven to seventy. M.A. in Theatre, Villanova University.