Thursday, September 12, 2013

2013-14 PlayGround Classes Announced

PlayGround announces a new season of playwriting classes for Bay Area playwrights from beginners to advanced, beginning Monday, October 7 at the PlayGround PlaySpace in South Berkeley (BART-accessible and plenty of free parking).

Monday Night Intensives are monthly three-hour classes, led by leading playwrights and other members of the Bay Area theatre community, addressing various aspects of playwriting craft. A new expanded three-hour format will allow for a more hands-on experience and deeper investigation of class material. All classes take place on first Mondays, October through March, at the PlaySpace. Advance registration is required and is $50 per individual class with 6-class subscriptions available for $180 (40% savings) and a Pick-3 subscriptions for $120 (20% savings).

PlayGround Resident Playwright Daniel Heath will offer a new round of his celebrated multi-part Short Play Workshop on Wednesday evenings, November 13 and November 20 and concluding on Monday evening, November 25, all at the PlaySpace. Early-bird registration for this ten-hour hands-on workshop is available through October 13 at $180 (10% savings). After October 13, registration is $200.

To register for the Monday Night Intensives and/or Daniel Heath’s Short Play Workshop, visit

Monday Night Intensives
Oct 7, Nov 4, Dec 2, Jan 6, Feb 3, Mar 3

October 7 – Key Exchange: Unlocking the Playwright’s Vision Through the Actor’s Voice with Annie Stuart and special guests
Which came first - the character or the actor who plays it? Meet some of the most intriguing and talented voices of the Bay Area Stage and find out what happens when playwrights and actors collaborate to bring a story to life. Come and dialogue with PlayGround Associate Director Annie Stuart and leading local actors about new writing, being written for and about, and how actors fuel the economy of language and deepen the theatrical journey.

November 4 – Serious Comedy with Lauren Gunderson
Use playmath tactics to deconstruct what's funny, how it's funny, why it's funny, and what comedy can do that drama wishes it could do.

December 2 – Adaptations with Jon Tracy
“There is nothing new in art except talent.” –Anton Chekhov.  Join PlayGround Resident Director and frequent adapter Jon Tracy on adaptations and how to reimagine classic stories and characters.

January 6 – Ten-Minute Play Tips & Tricks with Aaron Loeb
Join seven-time Best of PlayGround participant and Resident Playwright Aaron Loeb for this three-hour intensive on the short play.

February 3 – The Compassionate Playwright: How to Write Good Plays About Bad People with Daniel Heath
Compassion for and understanding of characters is so essential to writing three-dimensional characters (especially villains), creating compelling plots, and giving actors a place to work from. Learn how to create compelling bad guys in this three-hour intensive with four-time Best of PlayGround playwright Daniel Heath. NOTE: Daniel will also lead the three-part “The Art and Craft of the Short Play” workshop in November (see below).

March 3 – Finishing the Draft: How to Know When Your Play is Done (for Now) with Anthony Clarvoe
Some playwrights think the play is done when they type "End of Play." Some work and work and feel like the play is NEVER done. How can you know? Learn to check these vital signs that your play is ready to come to life.

The Art and Craft of the Short Play: A Workshop with Daniel Heath
Nov 13, 20 and 25

This three-session workshop will cover the fundamentals of short playwriting. The workshop will provide an introduction for newcomers to the form and practical exercises for veterans to refine their skills.

Part One: Character (Wed, November 13, 6pm)
Good plays start from good characters, and the most interesting conflicts come from real human complexity. In this workshop, we'll work on devising compelling characters who speak authentically. We'll talk about writing for actors--what are our responsibilities as writers who are sending actors out on stage to say our words? You'll leave with a writing assignment for the next class. (Class time: 3 hours)

Part Two: Story (Wed, November 20, 6pm)
Once we have our characters, something has to happen. That sounds simple, but like most things that really matter you can spend the rest of your life working on it. We'll talk about how to find a story, how to recognize it when you've found it, and how to turn a story into a well-structured play. We'll also talk about your audience (that all-important final partner of theatrical productions) and how to plan the journey that we're asking them to take. 

At our second session we'll be joined by a pair of actors from the PlayGround company; we'll begin with a reading of the brand-new monologues written since the last class. This session will also end with an assignment – a short play. In PlayGround fashion, you'll have five days to write it. (Class time: 4 hours)

Part Three: Performance (Monday, November 25th, 7pm)
Our last session will be part performance, part workshop. Again, we'll be joined by PlayGround company actors who will read the new plays, each one followed by a brief discussion. Guests/spectators are welcome. A reception will follow.  (Class time: 2-3 hours)

About the Faculty

Anthony Clarvoe has received the American Theatre Critics, Will Glickman, Bay Area Theatre Critics, LA Drama Critics, Elliot Norton, and Edgerton New American Play awards; fellowships from the Guggenheim, Irvine, Jerome, and McKnight Foundations, NEA, TCG/Pew Charitable Trusts, and Kennedy Center; commissions from South Coast Rep, Mark Taper Forum, and Playwrights Horizons; and the Berrilla Kerr Award for his contributions to American theater.  Productions include Pick Up Ax (South Coast Rep, San Jose Rep), The Living (Denver Center), Let’s Play Two (South Coast Rep), Ambition Facing West (Trinity Rep, Theatreworks), Ctrl+Alt+Delete (San Jose Rep, George St. Playhouse), The Brothers Karamazov (Cincinnati Playhouse, Circle X), Show and Tell (Rep Theatre of St. Louis), and Our Practical Heaven (Aurora Theatre).  His plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.  The Art of Sacrifice is forthcoming from Random House in the anthology Plays for Two. Anthony is a regular instructor at the Playwrights Foundation amd Stagebridge.

An award-winning playwright living in San Francisco, Lauren Gunderson has been produced and developed at companies across the US, including Berkeley Rep, Marin Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, Impact Theatre, Magic Theatre, SF Playhouse, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, the Kennedy Center, South Coast Rep, the O’Neill, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Express Theatre in Atlanta, and Second Stage Theatre and Lark Play Development Center in New York City. She is a Playwright in Residence at The Playwrights Foundation.

Daniel Heath is a PlayGround Resident Playwright and a former member of the PlayGround Writers Pool for seven seasons. He is a four-time winner of the PlayGround Emerging Playwright award (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011) and recipient of three PlayGround commissions (2009, 2010, and 2012). His short and long plays have been performed across the country. (This is his second time teaching this workshop; the first time was a blast.)

Aaron Loeb is a playwright and video game maker. His work has been extensively produced by PlayGround and other theaters around the country. His full-length plays First Person Shooter and Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party were premiered at SF Playhouse and subsequently around the country and his play, Blastosphere, co-written with Geetha Reddy, premiered at CentralWorks.

Annie Stuart has served as casting director for PlayGround for the past fourteen seasons and in 2005 was named the company’s first Associate Director. As a freelance casting director, her other credits include Marin Theatre Company, Center REP, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, San Francisco and Los Angeles Shakespeare Festivals, Brava! for Women In The Arts, Theatre Rhinoceros, and Z Space Studio, among others. For the camera, she has cast Falcon Crest, An Inconvenient Woman, Midnight Caller and The Two Mrs. Grenvilles. She has taught at San Jose State University, The Bennett Theatre Lab, Center REP, the College of Marin, Marin Theatre Company and for Theatre Bay Area.

Jon Tracy works as a director, playwright, designer and educator with such companies as Shotgun Players, San Francisco Playhouse, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theatre, and Aurora Theatre, among others, and is a PlayGround Resident Director and Company Member. His work frequently involves adaptation, both as a writer and a director.

To register, visit For more information, visit

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