Playwriting

Workshops, workshops, workshops!

Some might say I like to multitask. Some might say I like to cram every last second with activity to get my time’s worth. I like to think it’s somewhere in the middle. Looking back at the past couple of days as I’ve been workshopping new plays, I can’t believe how much I got done: three schools working on plays from two collections, a new vignette play and concept physical action scenarios from my bully play.

Wow, that’s a lot of multitasking! Or cramming! Or somewhere in the middle!

There’s nothing more exciting, and nerve-wracking than handing over a play to group of students and saying ‘there you go!’ Their reaction is always honest, always telling of how well the piece is going to play, and whether or not it’s good for student performers.

The key in these situations is to not wear the dismay in a play on your face. Because students see that dismay and instantly translate it into ‘I’m a horrible actor.’ Which is never the case.

I had some interesting time issues in the work this week. The vignette play was five minutes too long. Why is that a problem? Well, when you’re doing competitions when you have a set amount of time, five minutes is a huge problem. Not an issue, there’s one scene that could be lifted out as is, some rearranging of scenes for pace and bob’s your uncle.

I also had the students working on ten minute plays, and there were two in particular with issues: one was five minutes too long and one was five minutes too short. Hmmmm. The short play needs to go back to the drawing board, but the long play just needs tweaking. And that’s the awesome thing about cramming every second with activity: I was able to assess the issue at the Wednesday school, make some cuts, present a revised scene to the school on Thursday and re-assess.

It’s odd to me that I have to travel all the way to Florida to workshop my plays. But, it is what it is. Florida is where the teachers are interested in having me in. And I’m thrilled to work with their students.

About the author

Lindsay Price

2 Comments

  • Hi! My theatre does a student outreach show each school year and it would be awesome to workshop one of your plays as our project. Do you only work with schools or would you work with community theatre students as well?

  • Hi Jennifer,
    I would certainly work with community theatre students! The sticking point is location and timing – I do these workshops in areas when I’m already going to be there (for festivals or conferences) so that there is no travel/accommodation cost to the school. I do know that North Carolina has a drama teacher get together in September….