Tag Archives: writing for theater

Writer, writer on the wall…

Want to be the fairest writer of them all? Read often. Write daily. And learn from the masters.

Amy Silverman and Deborah Sussman Susser just announced that registration is now open for the next “Mothers Who Write” workshop, a 10-week series that starts Feb. 23 at Scottsdale Center for the Arts. It meets Thursday evenings from 6-8pm and costs $200 (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts members pay just $175).

A teen writing workshop called “Fems with Pens,” for girls in grades 7-12, begins Jan. 23 at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. The six-week series also include 5-6pm sessions on Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13, Feb. 27 and March 5. Participants write fiction and non-fiction using various exercises, then discuss and edit their work in a “creative, supportive environment.” The series costs $60.

Phoenix Public Library and Changing Hands Bookstore present a “Young Adult Writing Conference” featuring writing classes and a writing panel on Sat, Jan. 28 at the Burton Barr Central Library. Presenters and panelists include authors Adam Rex, Bree Despain, James Owen, Anna Carey, Kiersten White, Aprilynne Pike, Amy Fellner Dominy, C J Hill (Janette Rallison), Robin Brande, Cecil Castellucci and Tom Leveen. The event runs 9am-3pm and costs $85 ($75 through Jan. 19).

A “Yallapalooza” event for teens and tweens takes place at the library that same day at 4pm. The 11 authors noted above will attend, and the event also features free pizza — plus games, prizes and book signing opportunities. Admission is free.

ASU’s Virgina G. Piper Center for Creative Writing holds its 2012 “Desert Nights, Rising Stars” conference Feb. 23-26 at the center, located on ASU’s Tempe Campus. Conference faculty include Sally Ball, Robert Boswell, Bernard Cooper, Denise Dumahel, Carolyn Forche, Pam Houston, Adam Johnson, Mat Johnson, A. Van Jordan, Antonya Nelson, Alix Ohlin, Jem Poster, Melissa Pritchard, Jeannine Savard, Eleanor Wilner and Xu Xi. Writers of all levels are welcome, and general registration is $375 (master class tuition is an additional $125).

The UA Poetry Center in Tucson is presenting several classes and workshops in coming months, including “Poetry in the 21st Century” with Joel Arthur. The eight week literature class, which begins Feb. 6, will explore trends including conceptual poetry, Gurlesque, flarf, virtual poetics, Vispo and more. Participants will read, discuss and listen to American poetry from 2000 to the present. The class costs $200 (plus a $10 materials fee).

The Poetry Center also offers “Possibilities of Short Plays” with Laura Owen, an eight-week writing workshop on writing short form theatrical pieces — monologues and ten-minute plays. Participants will explore voice and dialogue, as well as the intersection of poetry and other forms. Students can expect to complete several dialogues and at least one complete ten-minute play. The workshop, which starts Feb. 8, costs $200 (plus a $5 materials fee).

Scottsdale Public Library and the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers present a “Local Writers Workshop” at the Mustang Library at 1:15pm on Feb. 19. The free workshop covers writing, publishing, an online author toolkit and networking. It’s one of many free writing-related events offered by Scottsdale Public Libraries. (Check your local library for additional options.)

If your organization offers writing classes for youth or adults, feel free to comment below to let our readers know.

— Lynn

Note: An organization called Friends of the Phoenix Public Library needs donations of children’s books to help economically-challenged schools stock their libraries and classrooms. Click here for donation details, and to learn about the Friends’ annual “Winter Book Sale” taking place later this month.

Coming up: Celebrating black history on stage and screen

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Musings on Mamet

When I first cracked open David Mamet’s book titled simply “Theatre,” I tried to work my way through it with a light touch. Normally I read with pen in hand — adding markings like “th” for thesis statements or “hmmm” for ideas I find especially thought provoking. Too many years in college and graduate school, I suppose.

I had hoped to leave a clean copy in my wake in case others in the family felt the urge to move their eyes across Mamet’s musings. I knew Lizabeth, the family’s only artist of the acting variety, would find my markings distracting and downright annoying. Also wrong, of course.

But I’m on my second reading now, tackling “Theatre” with wild abandon and all sorts or things that leave their mark. Sorry, Liz. The yellow highlights are there to stay. It’ll be another thirty years before you learn to cherish them. But you will one day, the same way I cherish notes written in my mother’s own hand.

My first reading of Mamet’s “Theatre” happened during two distinct periods separated by more than a month’s time. It felt terse, arrogant and altogether unhelpful the first time around. But succinct and insightful the next. Reading it for a second time is infinitely more fun. Not just because I’ve got pen in hand.

Mamet’s “Theatre” is part ode to theater, part how-to guide — though Mamet’s own stated intent is clearly closer to the first. The best way to make theater is to “do it.” Actors need talent and will. And audience is supreme.

There’s a little something for everyone in “Theatre.” Audience member, arts administrator, artist. Two types of artists, really — actors and writers. I found plenty of parenting pearls too, which I’ll share in a future post despite my suspicion that this is hardly what Mamet had in mind.

I hesitate to recommend “Theatre” given Mamet’s own confession early in the book that reading lists heaped on him as a young student of the arts weren’t terribly transformative. Still, I consider it a must-read — partly because it’s a different work each time you explore it.

It’s easy to read in big or small doses — and sized just right for hauling around on days you have time to kill but little freedom to choose your own hunting ground. I’m going to need a lot more pens.

— Lynn

Note: Mamet has also authored children’s books, so look for these too when you’re tracking down your own copy of “Theatre.” (And no, it is not okay to write in the margins of your children’s books.)

Coming up: Countdown to the Tony Awards®, Ode to season tickets