Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Playwriting in 3D: Writing the Fight workshop, March 14

The third installment of the Playwriting in 3D series that I've been leading for StageSource is coming up soon.  On March 14, 7-9pm, at the Boston Playwrights Theatre, Boston playwright/PhD candidate/fight choreographer/martial artist Meron Langnser, will lead a workshop he's calling: Writing the Fight

It'll be a fun and informative look at the implementation and implications of physical violence on stage.  If you're a Boston-area playwright or director or producer, I hope you'll check it out.

Here's the write up:

This workshop will examine violence as a manifestation of character conflict and plot device, as practical aspects of putting violence on the stage in production and rehearsal.  The focus will be on what the playwright needs to know in order to have specific choices made by their characters in relation to physical violence, and to write fight scenes that would allow competent fight directors to design safe and exciting combat.
Violence will be examined as a choice that characters make or are forced to make. The craft of setting up dramatic conflict in which words fail and physical confrontation becomes necessary for a scene will be examined.    Power dynamics between characters will be discussed as they relate to violence, potential violence, past violence, and consequences of violence.  
Well known texts that have well crafted fight scenes in them will be examined, both the scenes in which the physical confrontations take place and scenes that contain exposition concerning how characters may interact during a physical confrontation; for example, Mercutio’s speech to Benvolio about Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet or Larry teasing Burton about being an Aikido instructor in Burn This.
The dramatic effectiveness of stage combat will be explored.  The idea of knowing when and if to write in a fight will be explored.  Certain words punctuated with slaps become more powerful.  Other times writing in a fight will weaken a play.
On a pragmatic level, weapons, props, and common training will be explored.  The difference between writing in a knife as opposed to a broken bottle may shave hundreds of dollars off of a production budget, as will making a gunshot happen offstage rather than on.  Additionally,  knowing what to expect from standardized actor combatant training might allow for a playwright to develop characters with skill sets they may not have even known were possible.
Finally, the workshop will cover violence as it exists and is perceived in modern society, including Asian martial arts, firearms, and gender issues.    

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