Explorations: A Discussion on Play-Writing
Want to Go?
When: Sunday, March 20, at 3 p.m.
Where: Southern Pines Public Library
Information: (910) 692-8325
According to Hamlet, “the play’s the thing.”
Playwright and director Anna Gardner agrees. She believes that from the stage a character’s voice can both illuminate and sting “like lightning bugs and bumblebees.”
If you are an aspiring playwright, with characters buzzing in your ear wanting their stories told, then Gardener can help. On Sunday, March 20, at 3 p.m., she will present “The Craft of Writing a 10-Minute Play” as part of the Explorations series of programs at Southern Pines Public Library.
A member of the Dramatist Guild, Gardner recently directed the Sandbox Players production of “Crimes of the Heart” at the Sunrise Theater. During the upcoming Palustris Festival a collection of her 10-minute plays and monologues will be performed as Coffeehouse Theatre at Flynne’s Coffee Bar on Saturday, March 26, from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
Gardner often travels to see plays and to explore theater spaces. She recently flew to Seattle to see “The Trip to Bountiful,” one of her favorite plays, presented on a mostly bare arena stage.
“It was the perfect play in the perfect space,” she says. “The intimacy of the space allowed the audience to be at the character's side, as she struggled to return home one last time.”
Others on her list of favorites include “Grace and Glorie” by Tom Ziegler, “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder, and “Wit” by Margaret Edson. They are united by the themes of death and dying. In each one a character faces death and wants to be in control of her last moments. Gardner is intrigued by the ability to write passionately about the moment someone stops living and begins dying.
“I'm always drawn to plays about death, because the characters’ needs are magnified,” Gardner says. “The journey of letting go with dignity is a universal theme.”
During the 90-minute playwriting workshop at Southern Pines Library, participants will analyze a staged reading of one of Gardner’s plays, generate topics and themes for potential plays based on personal interests, develop interesting characters, and design a narrative structure that keeps the audience’s attention. Participants will be encouraged to e-mail their first draft to Gardner for constructive feedback.
Gardner is currently pursuing a master’s of fine arts degree in playwriting from Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., so she understands the value of having someone else evaluate her work. Last summer a professor had her take a play she had just completed, cut one character out of it, and then rewrite it in just 24 hours.
“Yes, it was a demanding day, but the play was ultimately made tighter and more affordable for a producer to stage,” she admits.
The playwriting workshop is free of charge and appropriate for beginning writers ages 18 and up.
“If you enjoy playing with words, telling stories, attending plays, and thinking critically and creatively, then grab your paper and pencils and join us,” Gardner says.
For more information on upcoming programs at Southern Pines Public Library, call (910) 692-8235 or visit www.sppl.net.
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