Characters use all sorts of tactics to get what they want: seduction, insult, flattery, cleverness and more. But the tactic that takes the cake is deception. Sometimes they fool lovers, sometimes friends. More often than not, they also fool themselves. In this class, you’ll explore the ways characters lie and deceive.
“When people lie,” says instructor Aaron Henne,”we get a profound glimpse into who they really are. Their fears, concerns and, most of all, their desires are revealed by what they choose to obscure. By excavating their descents into treachery and fraud, we get closer to their truths. By revealing their foibles, we also reveal their needs.”
Throughout the course of the day, you will produce pages of new material by doing exercises that focus on the ways characters lie when put into situations where the stakes are high. You’ll explore how the actions they take and the words they speak can contradict one another, leading not only to the betrayal of others but also to self-betrayal.
“Discovering what our characters most desire,” says Aaron, “and the lengths they are willing to go to to fulfill those desires, can help us truly empathize with them, even when they are villains who act without remorse. By following them on their most duplicitous journeys, we allow them to speak clearly and without apology.”
This workshop is appropriate for playwrights, novelists, short story writers and memoirists.
Aaron Henne is a playwright whose works include King Cat Calico Finally Flies Free! (published by Original Works Publishing), Record Storm Spreads Ruin! (commissioned by the Los Angeles History Project) and Sliding Into Hades, which received the 2008 LA Weekly Awards for Playwriting and Production of the Year. In 2010 he was commissioned by The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to write and direct two new family friendly pieces about the natural world. His most recent work, a multimedia adaptation of a 12th century epic poem, was a partner in the LA Opera’s Ring Festival LA. His play, A Man’s Home…An Ode to Kafka’s Castle, will premiere at Central Works in February 2011. Aaron also teaches writing at the Robey Theatre Company, the Writing Pad, Wordstrut and Otis College. His writing exercise book, You Already Know, is available through Writ Large Press.