Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress: Playwriting 101 Update

GeorgeRemember back in April, when I shared with you my interest in learning how to write a play? Well, three months later, I thought that it might be time for an update.

My progress, such as it is, has been negligible. I’m only a couple of chapters into Kathleen E. George’s Playwriting: The First Workshop. Even so, I’ve finished reading A.R. Gurney’s The Dinner Party (discussed and assigned in George’s book), and I’m about to start David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross (analyzed in my current chapter). I’ve drafted my own first scene, and I’m looking forward to my next generative assignment.

I’m also trying to attend at least one live theater performance each month. My July foray will likely take place next weekend…though I may dodge my own requirement somewhat by watching a free performance of Glengarry Glen Ross from the comfort of my home thanks to Amazon Prime Instant Video.

I’m having fun with this–it’s always exciting to try to take my writing practice in new directions, especially when the stakes are low: I’m not being graded, I have no deadline, I’m not (yet) submitting work for anyone else to see. All of that may happen in due course, to be sure, but those pressures are off for the moment.

How about you? Trying anything new with your writing this summer?

3 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress: Playwriting 101 Update

  1. Cherri says:

    Hi Erika,
    Thanks so much for sharing your progress with us. I enjoy hearing how others explore expanding themselves whatever their interest/field, be it writing, gardening, teaching, or anything really.

    Like you I have a day job at a university (though I’m in Texas), and one lovely benefit is free tuition for a Master’s level liberal studies program. Last semester I took a persuasive writing class as part of this program. Earlier this summer the professor from that course reached out to me, offering to meet one-on-one to discuss “taking my writing to another level.” Of course, I happily accepted such a generous offer. That professor has a wonderfully accomplished professional journalism career.

    We’ve finally been able to schedule our meeting for this weekend. I’m excited to meet with her, but nervous, too. I so appreciate her taking the time, and I want to properly benefit from the meeting. At her request, I’m taking a couple of writing samples that she never has seen. I also plan to take lots of notes. Where I’m stumped, however, is what questions I should ask her. Do you have any suggestions for intelligent questions I could ask?

    Thanks for a great blog!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Hi, Cherri:

      What a wonderful gesture from your professor. I wouldn’t worry about having lots of questions prepared. Your professor suggested the meeting, so an obvious question would be: “I so appreciate your having suggested this meeting–and I’ve been wondering what you meant by taking my writing to ‘the next level’.” Maybe you already have some ideas about where you want your writing to go, and you can try to explain those goals and ask if she has advice on how to reach them. In any case, I think it’s great! Have a good meeting, and thanks for sharing this with us!


  2. Sean M. Price says:

    You might want to read Fiddler on the Roof as well.

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