MA Playwriting / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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Course unit details:
|Unit level||FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
This module will explore how a playwright might work with the relationship between form and content when writing a play. During the module, you will engage with both popular and innovative formal conventions and devices found in a range of plays, starting with the naturalistic genre and extending from here to consider farce, postdramatic and experimental plays. You will develop a technical language for describing formal innovation in plays, working from a baseline of naturalism, and then learning in a controlled way, how to disrupt the formal conventions of naturalism. The module explores narrative, character, speech and dialogue, and will equip you with a suite of tools to help you find the right form for the content of the original plays you want to write. This module will be taught via a combination of study of existing plays and practical writing exercises.
Playwriting and Structure
The unit aims to:
- develop your understanding of the relationship between form and content when writing a play
- develop your knowledge of the comprehensive range of forms in use in plays, drawing on examples of significance from contemporary and historical playwriting
- equip you with a systematic range of tools and techniques to help you find the right form for the content of the original plays you want to write
Teaching and learning methods
Knowledge and understanding
Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the significance of the formal decisions writers make, and be able to articulate the impact of form in/on the building, shaping and meaning of a range of plays.
Articulate a detailed and thorough understanding of a range of key formal conventions along with a critical awareness of both historical and contemporary formal innovations in the field of playwriting.
Demonstrate their understanding of theatre form and use this as a diagnostic tool to feedback on peers’ work and their own to develop a resilient drafting process.
Articulate the ways in which playwrights draw on a developed theatrical imagination in their writing.
Critically analyse, interpret and judge the work of leading playwrights and to comment effectively on their use of form, and the relationships between form, story, plot, character and genre.
Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of a range of theatre forms, and be able execute control over the application of conventions and the use of formal devices in their own work.
Use a real or adopted professional perspective throughout to frame their discussions and reflections.
Evaluate, critique, and develop their own work, with reference to conventions of theatre form and identify appropriate creative solutions and possibilities in their writing.
Develop transferrable dramaturgical skills, applicable to all kinds of story-telling and play-making.
Use e-tools to collaborate with peers. Students should have worked to develop their skills in offering well-informed and supportive critique in response to the work of fellow students.
Control, develop and hone the form of their playwriting, utilising formal devices in their own way, and for their own ends.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
Communicate their ideas effectively both verbally and in writing.
Develop a sophisticated language when talking about playwriting and story design that is of professional and industry standard.
Collaborate constructively in group situations with peers to develop ideas and understanding and find solutions and creative possibilities with a shared language.
Manage their time and workload effectively in order to meet deadlines.
|1 One-act play and 1 Reflective piece||100%|
Verbal and written formative feedback provided via individual tutorials x 2 during the module.
Written summative feedback.
See indicative reading list for ‘The Dissertation Play’ module.
Plays explored on this module may include:
Travis Alabanza, Burgerz
Annie Baker, The Flick
Mike Bartlett, My Child
Alice Birch, Anatomy of a Suicide
Phoebe Waller Bridge, Fleabag
Jez Butterworth, Jerusalem
Caryl Churchill, Escaped Alone
Martin Crimp, Attempts on Her Life
Claire Dowie, Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt?
Chris Goode, Men in the Cities (or, Mirabel)
James Graham, This House
David Greig, The Events
Michael Frayn, Copenhagen
Jon Fosse, I am the Wind
Natasha Gordon, Nine Night
debbie tucker green, ear for eye
David Greig, San Diego
Inua Elams, Barbershop Chronicles
Elfriede Jelinek, Bambiland
Katori Hall, The Mountaintop
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun
Ella Hickson, The Writer
Sarah Kane, Blasted
Dennis Kelly, Love and Money
Young Jean Lee, Straight White Men
Duncan Macmillan, Lungs
Alistair McDowall, Pomona
Phyllis Nagy, Butterfly Kiss
Anthony Nielson, The Wonderful World of Dissocia
Joe Orton, What the Butler Saw
Gary Owen, Iphigenia in Splott
Nick Payne, Constellations
Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party
Tim Price, The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning
Mark Ravenhill, Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat
Wallace Shawn, Aunt Dan and Lemon
Sleepwalk Collective, Domestica
Andy Smith, Summit
Simon Stephens, Pornography
Chris Thorpe, Victory Condition
Enda Walsh, The Walworth Farce
Laura Wade, Home, I’m Darling
Anne Washburn, Mr Burns
Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Rachel Clements||Unit coordinator|
|Tim Price||Unit coordinator|