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Summer SAVY, Session 4 Day 2, Page to the Stage (7th – 8th)

Posted by on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

Oh, Playwrights, how I enjoyed today! Today’s session was dense. We covered some heady concepts, and we were able to dig deeply into the nuances and the contradictions. I always enjoy days like these. It’s fun when you can cruise through a survey of a dozen or so ideas, sure, but when you’re able to dig down into two or three topics… I find that journey to be exhilarating.
We began with a handful of games and centering exercises. Our 1 – 7 game continues to delight, even if *someone* managed to get me out this time. You’re all going to be Pew! Pew! Pew! pros by Friday. I’m so glad that you conquered the Labyrinth, but even more so, I’m delighted by the lessons learned from that experience. The Labyrinth teaches a lot about out-of-the-box thinking, collaboration, and communication. We may play that one again sometime.
We continued our exploration of Aristotle’s three-part structure, finding a nice marriage between his theories and those of Snyder. You’ve got a strong grasp of why it is that so many stories fail when their ending is not earned; the seeds of the end must be sown in the beginning, and setting those details can be much of the art and craft of storytelling.
You learned about Aristotle’s Unities of Time and Space, and with these tools in hand, you created several new stories, both as triptychs and as short plays. The latter effort required you to use a newly learned set of tools for quick drafting on the part of the playwright. For some of you, we’re working in a completely unfamiliar form, and I’m so excited about what you are about to make!
After lunch, we segued from Aristotle’s first hieratical element to the second, considering the role of Character. Do tell your parents about the meaning of “agon” and why all good stories – according to Aristotle – are about debate. Share with them why only an active protagonist can drive the narrative into the world of Antithesis, and why an ending demands a change in not only the world but also in our hero.
You have two things to consider tonight. The first is to continue thinking about your Action Analysis Statement. Please allow this to marinate in the back of your mind as you go about your nightly doings. Remember, the model looks like this:
The Protagonist, ________, wants ________ — but needs ________.
Therefore, the Protagonist does ________.
But: the Antagonist, ________, wants ________, and therefore does ________. This results in…
(Here ends the Beginning or the Thesis; here begins the Middle or Antithesis)
… the Protagonist doing ________.
(And here’s the End or Synthesis)
This changes the world by ________ and changes the Protagonist’s relationship to their need by ________.
Remember, not all stories are going to fit this template perfectly, though it is a great jumping-off point when adapting a piece of content from one form of media to that of live theatre.
Your other piece of to consider is why we find things funny. Why do we laugh at the things we choose to laugh at? Why are some things funny, while others… well, aren’t. Feel free to chat about this with your family. Feel free to phone a friend. There’s no right answer to this one, though your thoughts will underpin our dialogue in the morning.
Please remember that our work this week requires you to have some kind of working knowledge of a novel or short story you would like to see adapted for the live theatre. If you have this book with you, that’s even better, though if you don’t have a copy of the text we can manage.
I’ll leave you with a final thought or two, starting with our quote from Mac Rogers. “Language is the vehicle of the theatre,” says this exciting contemporary playwright. As for the function of the theatrical author, “We do language. That may be the measure of our lives,” says Toni Morrison. How important the role of diction is! How important is the responsibility of listening?
Thank you, my friends. I hope you have a lovely night. I’ll see you in the morning.
Captain Hawaiian Shirt