Playwright Master Class: January 2015

Athol Fugard says that playwriting is a craft: The playwright builds plays as a shipwright builds ships. Fugard likens creating a play to making a table – all four legs need to be solid so that the piece stands firmly on its own.

table

This 2015 Playwright Master Class will focus on the craft of playwriting, sharing time- tested techniques for creating solid structure, drama, character and dialogue. Through the course, students will master four essential pillars on which to build any great play.

COURSE DESIGN

Introductory Session:

  • The seven elements of great storytelling
  • A common language: Acts, Scenes, Beats
  • Introduction to the four techniques of playwriting
Session One: Structure

  • The power of genre (choose wisely!)
  • The essence of Three-Act Structure and the Five-Act variant
Session Two: Drama

  • The essentials of protagonists and antagonists
  • The essence (and necessity) of external and internal drama
Session Three: Character

  • Character crosses: Creating three-dimensional characters
  • The drama triangle and how to generate life
Session Four: Dialogue

  • The four key types of dialogue
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall
  • Great dialogue: Secret messages

Ongoing Throughout:
Exercises to practice writing dangerously and writing the truth.

COURSE DETAILS

Schedule:  

  • Introductory Meeting (6-9:00 pm): Wednesday, 21 January
  • Saturday Sessions (1-5:00 pm): 24, 31 January and 7, 14 February

Format:       

  • Class mini-lectures, discussions, and writing exercises
  • At-home readings of plays, theory and writing assignments

Location:     Westcliff, “The Glass House”

house

Fee:    ZAR 950 for five classes

Fee includes a participant workbook with readings, theory, and exercises. Scholarships available.

Application Process:

Class limited to 12 participants.

To apply, send a one-paragraph personal biography and a one-paragraph motivation for taking the class by the 22nd of December, 2014.

Students requesting a scholarship should include an additional motivation.

Instructor Biography:

Alex Burger is a playwright, screenwriter, and teacher with a professional background in issues of poverty and race. His newest play will premiere in 2015 staring Dorothy Anne Gould and Keketso Semoko. His play Whose Blood played to a fully sold-out run in London in 2011 and he won the 2010 Harvardwood award for his one-act play Three-Fifths. Alex is currently developing television content for Quizzical Pictures and is in discussion with Hollywood producers on a film and television project.

Alex teaches writing and Wits University and the Market Theatre Laboratory and is a judge for the South African Naledi Awards. Alex is a U.S. national who now makes Johannesburg his home. He is a former Vice President at AngloGold Ashanti. He holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from INSEAD.

View Details in PDF »

For more information:

Alex Burger alex@alexburgerart.com

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