Visit the Boston Playwrights' Theatre Web site for information about our programs, tickets, and more!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Notes on camp

This is the second week of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts Summer Writing Program, where I’m teaching playwriting to 24 incredibly creative teenagers. On the very first day, I suggested we brainstorm what makes theatre. What’s in a play? The above is part of the students’ list. (Awesome that they thought to mention techies and staff! They are cool.)

Two days later, after we’d read and discussed some short plays – including Gregory Fletcher’s Stairway to Heaven, Melinda Lopez’s The Lesson, and Walt McGough’s Two Socks Discuss Loss – our list evolved. We added to it, and the students mentioned the above. They learn fast.

This may look like some kind of “playwright photo booth” situation, but it’s actually my twisted way of separating the writers into groups for a project. I started thinking about traditional summer camp – how in color war you’re on the Blue Team or your bunk is called the Choctaws. So I dealt out cards with these faces on them, and instead we have teams named for American playwrights: The Wilsons! The Henleys! I can practically hear a dining hall cheer about how the Ruhls rule, can't you?

In class I get to say stuff like, “Okay, let’s hear from the Rebecks,” "Good job, McCraneys," and “Who’s left? Ah yes – the Wilders.” After two weeks together, it’s possible I’ve scarred these kids for life…or possibly converted them.

No comments:

Post a Comment