Thursday, January 05, 2006

Senior Project Proposal (Pertinent Excerpts)

Description Of Project

My project idea is to expand my 10-minute play, “It Adds Up”, into a one-act and to direct it. In its 10-minute form, the play is about a young woman, Olivia, who works in a coffeeshop in a small city. It’s a slice-of-life story about her struggles, focusing on her being stuck in a job she hates that barely pays the bills.

In developing it I hope to maintain the basic storyline, but adding more about Olivia’s personal, social, and internal life. Some initial ideas are to expand on the secondary characters and particularly their relationship with Olivia, and put in some monologues—perhaps delivered as asides—which will delve deeper into Olivia’s state of mind.

In directing the play, I hope to create a realistic, accessible, engaging, and possibly thought-provoking piece that will appeal to a diverse crowd. The cast will consist of one lead role and—currently—six supporting roles, which could be done as an ensemble. The set will be minimal, to help cut down on scene-change stress.

Other ideas: a Brechtian flair—I have titles for the scenes, and might want to make signs for a crew person to carry out and display in between scenes. Using real people, not necessarily “actors”—part Brechtian, partly a love of natural chemistry; for example, there’s a scene with a married couple. I would like to use a real couple for this, allowing their natural chemistry to come through.

Why This, Why Now, Why Me, Why God Why

When first writing this play as a 10-minute last spring, I’d wanted to develop it into a one-act. I thought it was a strong piece and the consensus of those who read it or saw the staged reading (including yourself!) was that they’d like to see it expanded upon. I didn’t get inspired to do it over the summer, but since then have been compulsively brainstorming and developing the character of Olivia, if only mentally. Also, as a life-long writer, I know that time away from a piece can allow one to detach and therefore allow a smoother, more inspired, finishing process. Also, since writing it originally, I have increased my theatre experience (mainly in tech, performing, and producing), thereby giving myself more pragmatic vision.

Learning Goals & Qualifications

Why I’m qualified and what I have to learn go hand-in-hand. In the writing process it will be the development of my skills. The bulk of what I’ve written throughout my life has been meant for the page. I have always wanted to write scripts (and later, spoken word), but until taking Playwriting last spring only dabbled in it, and without much confidence. I am now aware that my natural talent as a “silent” writer can be applied to performative writing, with as much practice as possible. And by directing my own work I will be able to see what works and what doesn’t, from a different perspective than if I were performing or not involved in the production.

My first experience with directing was as a student director for the show I was involved in as part of the San Francisco Mime Troupe workshop. Workshop leader Dan Chumley said I had a natural knack for the craft, which delighted me, seeing as directing has been something I have always been interested in (even before performing and playwriting).

Since then, I have watched directors work with a student’s eye and I took the Directing Seminar class last term. All this has given me a grasp of the craft which, at this point, I feel can only be developed by actually directing a show. (I’m a learner-by-doer above all else.) It will also give me experience with dealing with actors, scheduling, and the tech/stage aspects of a show which I have experienced from nearly every other side of production. My Antioch education in theatre has, thus far, covered every major branch of theatre work—except directing, which is one of the main things I hope to pursue professionally once I graduate.

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