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Critiqueing- Assume the play is perfect.  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Thu Nov 1st, 2007 02:14 am
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in media res
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The article LINK I paste below, which is failry good, is from a prominent, producing theatre in America.

Mortimer Adler wrote a great book, “HOW TO READ A BOOK.” It is a great guide.

This could be called "How to Read a Play."

Though this article/interview is only a couple of pages at most, it is a good primer guide, from Adrien-Alice Hansel who is the Literary Manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville.


Best,

In media res

THE LINK:

Adrien-Alice Hansel

http://www.actorstheatre.org/HUMANA%20FESTIVAL%20CDROM/hansel.htm

And for those who may have missed it hidden in another post, here is the link to the Michael Ventura article on becoming a writer, called THE TALENT OF THE ROOM.
http://www.michaelventura.org/writings/LA4.pdf

Last edited on Thu Nov 1st, 2007 04:14 am by in media res

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 Posted: Thu Nov 1st, 2007 12:08 pm
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Edd
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in media res,

Thanks for these links--informative and useful.  I especially enjoyed reading Michael Ventura's thoughts.  Isn't it interesting how one can most always tell when someone knows what they're talking about?  His article struck that chord.

~Edd

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 Posted: Fri Nov 2nd, 2007 11:52 am
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playfull
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Read the Michael Ventura article - very powerful stuff, especially for a wannabe writer....there wasn't a lot of joy expressed. If you are unsuccessful it will be painful and lonely, whereas if you are successful it will be painful and lonely.......

Much food for thought.

Regards

 

playfull   

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 Posted: Fri Nov 2nd, 2007 12:36 pm
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Swann1719
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But isn't Ventura speaking to the novelist?  Like or not, don't playwrights have some collaborative element in their work?  Don't they share the burden of the word and the truth with other people?

I thought the Ventura piece was powerful, yes.  But man, he ain't in there writing comedy is he?  There is this assumption of tragedy about it, there was the implicit rejection of collaboration - lighten up, dog!!  

The other thing I thought about Ventura was that the guy is very down on having your work conform to popular styles/ being commercial.  Umm, didn't Shakespeare write sonnets and three act plays?  It's as if Ventura assumes that you have to sequester yourself away from popular or commercial influences in order to be a writer. 

I couldn't disagree more.  You want to transcend what is commercially successful today? Well, first you have to master it.  And it may just be that in the process of mastering it you learn a thing or two about what makes a better play.  

I have been fascinated lately by the idea of competition in the arts.  It's pretty well documents how some artists are fueled by the desire to beat the competition.  Read Van Gogh's diaries.  It's human nature.

So I see Ventura's relationship to the room as based on a number of assumptions about writing that don't apply to me.  That allows me to lighten up too!  As perhaps a female dog? 

Your friendly neighbourhood

Swann

 

 

 

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 Posted: Fri Nov 2nd, 2007 04:24 pm
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Swann and playfull,

Glad this all has generated some terrific, great discussion.

It all started with iris posting on another thread, “THE STAGE” - “Where do you write?” Thanks, iris.


I don’t think Ventura is talking about not being commercial. He himself is highly successful. And he has mastered the “form.” Swann, you’ll remember what Robert McKee said in his seminar and book:

“Anxious, inexperienced writers obey rules. Rebellious unschooled writers break rules. Artists master the form.”

Ventura really means writing the truth. And that is in comedy writing, playwriting, novel writing, television series writing, newspaper writing. I’ve learned as much about writing from great newspaper columnists and sports writers in Chicago while growing up as I have from any other source. It certainly did Hemingway a lot of good! I learned irony, brevity, conciseness, editing, demands of form restrictions, stick to the story...and the greatest line from Chicago’s “City News Bureau” where many great fledgling writers were trained covering crime, politics, etc: “If your mother says she loves you...Check it out.” In my world that means to me: no gaps.

Several artists, including Robert Frost and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway have written about how envy is a very necessary part of being a writer, and an excellent motivator. Hemingway said in one of his letters, ”I have always been in competition with “T.” I think I actually beat him once.” He meant Tolstoy. Hemingway certainly set the bar high!

You must know what is going on to strive for it. We only learn from the best. “Amateurs teach other amateurs to be amateurs,” is a phrase one of my college professors told me. “If you want to act, go out and act and learn from the best.” Whenever I had seen a terrific actor, I would be envious but in a good way because I learned from them. They continually give me a gift is the way I look at it! I see terrific writing, I learn from it. Terrific staging I learn from it.

I’ve read some of Van Gogh’s diaries. Excellent. But he spent a lot of time in the “room” as well. For twenty five years, whenever I have been out of town working, I take a little post card sized framed copy of Van Gogh’s “The Bedroom” with me and put it on the nightstand. http://www.artic.edu/artaccess/AA_Impressionist/pages/IMP_8.shtml It is always an inspiration and was long before I read Ventura’s article! Fortunqtely it hangs here in The Art Institute of Chicago, but I read in the Chicago paper today, IT IS BEING LOANED FOR SEVERAL MONTHS TO A MUSEUM IN TEXAS. TEXAS!!!

But, I think it still does come down to how much time can you spend in your own particular “room” wherever that may be actual or figurative. What one takes into that room, whether it be grief, joy, agony is up to each writer. O’Neill would come out from his room weary. But he probably took it into that room as well. Haven’t we all shed tears while writing. Laughed while writing? Sung with joy while writing? High-Fived ourselves while writing? Tennessee Williams called writing a “physically athletic event.” I think all writers know what he means.

One really lives in the "room" all the time.

The room that is in your head is just as important as the room you actually ”write in.” Playwright, Alan Ayckbourn, “thinks” about a play for 50 weeks a year and writes it in two weeks. I saw him in a wonderful interview several years ago in Chicago. Boy can he spin a good story just in an answer to a question! Marvelous interviewee. If you ever get to see him talk in England, go!

Here is a DVD he is on. Just googled him. http://www.alanayckbourn.net/Films%20-%20Private%20Fears%20availability.htm

As far as comedy: Jerry Seinfeld just had an interview and Steven Spielberg was reading his script had to tell him to “lighten up” on his new movie he wrote about Bees. He said it was very humbling to have to have a guy who is not known for comedy to tell a comedian to “Lighten up.” I laughed out loud in the car!


Best,

In media res

Last edited on Sat Nov 3rd, 2007 03:23 am by in media res

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 Posted: Fri Nov 2nd, 2007 10:59 pm
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playfull
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in media res wrote:
As far as comedy: Jerry Seinfeld just had an interview and Steven Spielberg was reading his script had to tell him to “lighten up” on his new movie he wrote about Bees. He said it was very humbling to have to have a guy who is not known for comedy to tell a comedian to “Lighten up.” I laughed out loud in the car!



 Jerry Seinfeld is a comedian?

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 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2007 03:09 am
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playfull.

As the Hollywood agents, who never laugh at anything would say:

"Now, THAT'S funny!"

best,

in media res

P.S. Never found Seinfeld - the show - particularly "funny." I just never have been the audience for half hour sit-coms, whether British or American. (Though I would love to be on a good one! Several friends have been series regulars.) But I did find "himself" Mr. Seinfeld quite charming. I am not going to argue with his bank account as far as show "business" savvy is concerned. He is highly dedicated and committed, works his ass off enough for ten people and is highly talented (Read again "The Talent of the Room") there is no question about it. I admire his commitment, drive and tenacity. I am sure mine does not even show up as a blip on his radar!

Last edited on Sat Nov 3rd, 2007 03:18 am by in media res

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