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Elizabeth Gjelten: Live Words – Plays & Performance

5 Sundays, October 2 – October 30, 10:30am-1pm
$275 members/$295 others

“At its root, theater is about change — change that happens both in the characters and in the audience,” says instructor Elizabeth Gjelten. “How do we create that change? How do we create characters who are complex, real, and ripe for change? And how do we show that change, in the moment, in what they say and do?”

In this class, we’ll learn and practice a number of tools and exercises for generating new writing for performance — including plays and solo pieces — and for taking that raw material to the next level. These tools are geared to shake up habits of thought and tongue, to generate vivid images, to trick our minds into getting out of the way, to go deeper, to invoke. We’ll also begin to explore some of the basic building blocks of performance text, including dramatic structure, subtext, dialogue that sounds vital and real, and monologues that contain discovery and show rather than tell. We’ll learn how to read plays and other performance texts as writers, to use them as tools for our own writing process.

This class is for writers of all levels interested in writing for performance, including playwrights and solo writer-performers, as well as dancers and other multidisciplinary artists who want to incorporate text into their performances.

Elizabeth Gjelten is a playwright, poet, teacher, and community-based theater-maker. Her full-length plays include “Hunter’s Point” (St. Boniface Church Theater and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival), “What the Birds Carry” (The Pear Avenue Theater and Mae West Fest), and “Dance Lessons” (Venue 9 and Working Woman Festival). A graduate of SFSU’s MFA Creative Writing Program, she has taught playwriting/writing for performance in various academic and community settings, including New College of California, SFSU, JFK University, and juvenile detention facilities. She has received the Bay Area’s TITAN Award and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Honorary Fellowship at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, as well as major funding for her work from the SF Arts Commission and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Her poetry chapbook, say I am you (self/other), was published by Modest Proposal.


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