Advanced Playwriting Program Hard at Work on Original Plays

The Advanced Playwriting program is now in its second year, with 9 students from 5 different NYC schools currently participating.  Led by teaching artist Katy Rubin, students have been meeting weekly after school at the UAP offices since January to each develop their own 10-15 minute original play.  After intensive work shopping, the plays will be staged and performed by Life Stories theatre students over a 3 week intensive directing program at the New Group in July, and then will be performed in early August at the Acorn Theater.

The program began with students engaging in exercises designed to help them generate ideas for characters and story ideas for their plays.  They explored character objectives and tactics, and how to create scenes with heightened stakes for the characters.  This in-depth writing process also involves a great deal of peer critique, with students challenging one another to strengthen their plays and ensure that the characters and scenes are true to life.  The group offers one another supportive feedback while also challenging their fellow participants to create the strongest possible work.  Each student also produced a storyboard detailing to plot of their play to help clarify the story they want to tell and how to effectively communicate it to an audience in a short amount of time.

The group has also participated in a rolling master class series, which also consists of taking students to plays by living playwrights who lead talk backs/tutorials with students after performances.  So far, the students have attended six plays, and they noted that these experiences have helped Members of the Clutch, Midi Mafia, Tricky Stewart, Usher, and a handful of other notable producers and songwriters grant a set of songs that isn’t quite top-level quality, but the singer more than gets by on his squeaky-clean charm and natural ability. them gain a deeper understanding of what makes a great play and how to keep the audience engaged.  Overall, these young playwrights have been focusing on developing their own unique voices to bring their authentic personalities and perspectives to their audience.  Stay tuned for more news from this incredibly hard-working group of emerging new voices in theater.

“So far we did a lot of improv exercises to help with character development and objectives, which helps you write dialogue.  The other main focus of the class is conflict.  We worked with character interruptions to bring in different opinions and voices.  What’s really good about this group is that we’re all really into writing and we all bring different perspectives to our feedback.  All the feedback has been really helpful.  It’s a good place to help you make concentrated, focused time to write in a supportive environment.” – Anuradha, 12th grade, Beacon HS

“It’s important personally to me to make time for this class because it’s what I want to do in the future.  I need the practice and performing arts is an incredibly competitive field.  I have an advantage by participating in Urban Arts in being able to know how a play is really written.  It gives us skills for making our plays more real.  We don’t want to write about childish subjects, and the roundtable feedback is so helpful.  I’m writing about one of my greatest fears.  My play is about someone who realizes that someone he loves is actually a figment of his imagination.” – Anthony, 12th grade, Beacon HS

“I like this class because I like creative writing, but I don’t like writing without a purpose.  I know there’s an end product I’m working toward, and I look forward to having my work read.  The best part of the class is being able to get feedback from other playwrights.  It’s been a real big skill booster.  The program allows teens to write about things that are about real life stuff.” – Genesis, 11th grade, KAPP International HS