From Inside The Writers’ Room
We have 45 Inside The Writers’ Room passholders, a mix of ticket buyers, subscribers, >discount donors, teachers, students, and friends who have signed on to observe Wendy MacLeod’s new play take shape. A few of the passholders have agreed to share thoughts with us throughout the process. Here’s our first installment.
By Jacquelynne Tarves, Inside The Writers’ Room passholder
In response to our prompt: Why did you sign up for a pass?
I have been working on a play since my mom passed away. I’ve been hoping for something that would help the process, having already tapped out my friends and the library. The Writers’ Room exceeds my expectations. Plus, I have been an Arden subscriber for 4 years; before that we just attended hit or miss—but now we do not miss.
It is going to kill me to miss next week’s rehearsals, but we are off to Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Shaw Festival. Five plays lined up and now with the new insight gained from The Writers’ Room I am looking forward to them more than ever. Unless dates change again, I will see everyone on the 23rd.
Today I will be traipsing around our woodland property in Cape May County looking for the decayed wood prop Maura [Roche, Set Designer] is looking for in the camping scene.
In response to Leigh’s question about what I have learned, I am going to answer with two pedagogical questions, which I hope might be of at least some interest to others. As someone who teaches English literature courses, I am accustomed to focusing on close reading and textual analysis in relation to the “author,” however defined.
What fascinates me about the process I have observed thus far is the dynamic relationship between the playwright and the actors/director, which makes the script such a mutable entity. Of course, works of fiction undergo a somewhat similar process of revision as a result of input from editors and other readers, but my impression is that the progression from page to stage requires the playwright to work far more collaboratively than the author of a work of fiction. I am not implying any criticism here but am simply wondering if the intrinsic differences between the genres have an inevitable effect on role of the playwright vs. the role of the author because the former has to prioritize performance over publication? If so, how is it possible to teach a play as anything other than a script intended for production rather than as a “text” in the literary sense of the term?
[…] same territory to make it look right, read right and ultimately remain fresh for each performance. Previously from Inside The Writers’ Room: Jacquelynne works on her own play, visits The Shaw F… June 18, 2012 | Leigh Goldenberg | Tags: The Writers' Room | No Comments […]
Regarding Diane’s last question–I can only offer that when studying Shakespeare in high school I seem to recall that we were taught those plays in only a literary sense. We had no idea and the teacher did not present how well it all came across on stage. Funny that we never even thought about it. It was all about the literary techniques, etc. Maybe all plays, even giant commercial successes, are not study-able in a literary context.?? My understanding is that the Writer’s Room is just about the production process and insuring the success of the production by including a scientific approach based on empirical data collected over the ages of successful play production.
I have new respect for the healthy egos playwrights must have. To be so amenable to having so much of one’s original thoughts revised! I wonder that they ever lose track of where they were going in the first place. Obvious that chemistry and respect between playwright and director is paramount!