Playwriting I
Playwriting II

Playwriting II is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. The prerequisite is Playwriting I (10-week), or the equivalent; Level II courses work best when students know the fundamentals and have experience with the workshop process.  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 II

This course brought me to an entirely new level of writing and interpreting plays

Kimberly Kenna


Upcoming Classes

To ensure everyone's good health, students in NYC classes must provide proof of full Covid vaccinations (the initial series of Covid vaccines plus at least one booster). We will accept your Covid vaccine card (or a digital scan), a NY State Excelsior digital card, or another form of government-approved proof. We will contact you before class begins about showing us proof. Also, we will require masks in the classrooms and Gotham premises.

More Covid details


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.



This course helps you sharpen your skills at playwriting craft and work toward completion of one or two short plays or a full-length play. Writers often repeat Playwriting II to continue their projects. Course components:
     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
Conflict: Protagonist and antagonist. Rising conflict. Demonstrating vs. dramatizing. Making it a fair fight.

Week 2
Character Arc: Premise and character. Transitions. Seeds of change.

Week 3
Objectives: Making objectives specific and potent. Linking objectives to image. Objectives from an actor's point of view.

Week 4
Scene Structure and Beats: Progression of beats. Progression of scenes. Progression of play.

Week 5
Dialogue as Action: Uses of dialogue—objective, distortion, presentation. Subtext. Tone. Argument and exposition.

Week 6
Subtext and Context: Surface motivations. Subconscious motivations.

Week 7
Setting and Sets: How time and place affect the action and tone. Setting and style. How many setting and sets? Type of theatricality.

Week 8
Theme and Image: Understanding theme. Dramatizing theme. Translating theme into image.

Week 9
The Climactic Event: The moment of decision. The final showdown. Problems to look for. Group structure. Using the climactic event to keep you on track.

Week 10
Collaboration: Readings. Full productions. Choosing a director. Casting. Speaking up. Too many cooks. Embrace your oddities and imperfections.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.


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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