See also:
Playwriting Intensive
Up next:
Playwriting II
Playwriting I

Playwriting I is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. It’s for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on the fundamentals. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

The lights in the theater dim, and a play begins. Nothing beats the intensity of actors sharing the same air as the audience. The laughs and gasps and tears happen live, on the spot. And a play can be staged anywhere, from an empty space surrounded by folding chairs to a plush Broadway house.

A play will not soar in performance unless it’s great on the page. Here you’ll learn how to write for the stage and how to market your work.

Whether you seek to write one-acts or full-lengths or musicals, we’ll show you how to write plays that draw the big applause.

About Playwriting
Playwriting I

This course took what had been a mystery and turned it into something I could not only understand but apply.

Jim McElroy

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Upcoming Classes

Price

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.

10-Week

Syllabus

This course gives you a firm grounding in the basics of playwriting craft and gets you writing a short play (or two) or a full-length play. Course components:
     Lectures
     Writing exercises
     Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 

Week 1
Introduction to Playwriting: Theatre today. Types of plays. Getting ideas. Finding your own way. A play is a blueprint for a production.

Week 2
Character: The cast—protagonist, antagonist, the others. Creating characters. Finding dimension. Showing actions. Objectives.

Week 3
Structure/Plot: Finding the spine of the story. The drive of characters. Mapping out the events. Beginning/middle/end. Turning points and climax.

Week 4
Theatricality: Approaches to theatricality—naturalism, realism, poetic realism, pure theatre, surreal theatre. Dealing with acting, directing, and design elements.

Week 5
Dialogue: Dialogue’s illusion of reality. Compression. Characterization through dialogue. Subtext. Exposition. Heightened language.

Week 6
Scene: Scene defined. Amount and length of scenes. French scenes. Beats. Scene structure. Scene subtext. Stage directions.

Week 7
Setting/Pacing: Establishing time and place. How much time and space to cover. Shifting place. Shifting time. Slowing down and speeding up.

Week 8
Theme: Thoughts on theme. Do you pick your theme or does it pick you? Using theme to stay on track.

Week 9
Revision: Stages of revision. Readings. Adjusting in performance. What to watch for.

Week 10
Production: Preparing your work. Selling your plays. Representation. Finding a home. Putting on your plays.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.

Teachers

Kuros Charney
Kuros Charney

Kuros Charney has had plays produced at numerous theaters, including Shame and Desire (Stella Adler Theatre), The Man from Brazoria County (ALAP New Works Lab), The Moving Forward of Souls (Coronet Theater), Anger (Elephant Theatre), and The Humanist (Dayton Playhouse). He wrote the feature film Another City, which premiered at the Manhattan Film Festival, and the feature screenplays Used Books, which was developed with actor/producer LeVar Burton (Eagle Nation Films), and The Sea Between, commissioned by producer Elizabeth Kahn (Forever After Project, Inc.). His work has appeared in New York magazine, Another Chicago Magazine, and FOLIO. He holds a BA from UC-San Diego and an MFA in Film from USC.

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Richard Caliban
Richard Caliban

Richard Caliban was artistic director of Cucaracha Theater in NYC where he produced new works and directed  his own plays, including Homo Sapien Shuffle at the Public Theatre. His work has been seen at Primary Stages, Playwrights Horizons, Cherry Lane, Ensemble Studio Theatre, La Mama, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Geva Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. He wrote the book/lyrics/music and directed MoM: A Rock Concert Musical, which won Outstanding Musical at the NY International Fringe Festival. Published plays include Rodents & Radios, Gladiator, Famine Plays, and Cranium Fandango. He has directed and/or taught at the National Theatre Conservatory, NYU, Columbia University, C.W. Post College, Hunter College, City College of New York, Towson University, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, and the Director’s Guild. He holds a BA from Bard College and attended the Yale School of Drama and NY Film Academy.

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