Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mickey Mouse ending

These final days of workshops at the writers' conference can be remarkable in the energy they generate. The writers are getting to know one another, deciding which of us workshop leaders they can trust, and where the responses and discussions abiout individual works are the ost insightful and helpful.

For some time, I've had the growing sense (expressed in earlier entries) that there is an affinity between the actor and the writer. Tonight once again, I was able to demonstrate the belief in concrete terms, thanks to Davida Wills Hurwin and Marla Miller, fellow workshop leaders. Davida, who writes a splendid young adult novel, is as well an acting coach. A disciple of the noted acting teacher Jeff Corey, Davida devised a series of demonstrations in which Marla and a student, Kim, were cast as sisters in a set-up where we were able to assign them roles and chores which they were not allowed to discuss or reveal except through indirection and subtext. Thus these two "sisters" were set to play conflicting roles, which they did with great zeal and effective force, allowing the writers to "see" how a dramatic scene really works. In yet another situation, I was called upon to portray a husband who just discovered his career-minded wife had aborted a fetus whose existence he hadn't even known about. Each of us developed some convincing surprises and the audience of writers was caught up in the momentum we generated.
I think we're going to take this show out on the road; it is a splendid way of helping actor and writer integrate the process that creates drama. I have been looking for a way to end the boredom and uniformity of the simple writing workshop atmosphere and put story back into story .

The mickey mouse ending, which is to say the manufactured, two or threebubbles over onto the personable sounds of goose quil scrating out on paper better watch out. Here we come.

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