Thursday, September 17, 2015

PlayGround Fall 2015 Playwriting Classes UPDATE

UPDATE: PlayLab I and PlayLab II with Anthony Clarvoe will take place 9/29-11/3 and 11/10-12/15, respectively. Early-bird registration deadlines are 9/22 for PlayLab I and 10/29 for PlayLab II.

Are you looking to tap into your personal creativity? Ready to learn how to translate your ideas into theatrical stories or further develop your latest new play? PlayGround offers a range of classes, from single-session introductory Intensives to in-depth multi-session PlayLabs, to help take your writing to the next level! For more information on Fall 2015 classes, read below or visit

Fall 2015 Classes

Intensives are weekly two-hour classes on select Mondays, 8pm-10pm, addressing various aspects of playwriting craft, often through the lens of the ten-minute play though fully applicable to the full-length play as well. All Intensives take place at the PlayGround PlaySpace, 3286 Adeline Street #4, off Alcatraz Ave, in South Berkeley. Registration is $40 per session and discount subscriptions are available when registering for 2 or more sessions at the same time.

PlayLabs offer a more hands-on and deeper investigation of class material and take place over six consecutive Tuesdays, 7pm-10pm, at the PlayGround PlaySpace. Registration is $300 for each 6-session PlayLab and discounts are available for those registering by the early-bird deadline. Advance registration is required for all classes and capacity is limited. There are no refunds or exchanges.

Recess provides a safe, supportive lab to hear your work read aloud by leading local professional actors, in a community of your peers, with support from a professional dramaturg/facilitator. New this year, PlayGround brings one of its most coveted in-house programs to the public, on first Wednesdays, October through March, 7pm-10pm, at the PlayGround PlaySpace. Bring an original short play or an excerpt from a longer work, hear it read aloud, and gain valuable feedback from peers, the actors, and our professional dramaturg/facilitator.


9/28: Playwriting Intensive - The Question with Aaron Loeb
What would happen if...? In the beginning, there's a question and it's through trying to answer that question that your play is born. Kick off the new season with this introductory session and learn how to find (or strengthen) the spark for your next play!

10/5: Playwriting Intensive - Character Development with Garret Jon Groenveld
Do you hear voices? Do you have visions about particular characters? Through your everyday discoveries you are processing your next character for your play. Learn about how to make your characters come alive and how their desires will unfold in your play. In this session we’ll unveil a number of techniques to help you define your characters.

10/26: Playwriting Intensive - Dialogue with Garret Jon Groenveld
Did you ever think that dialogue is like an invisible string traveling through the most intriguing areas of the human body? Travel with us from the mind, to the breath, into the ear and back to the mind and out of another mouth! Wild trip, huh? Dialogue is a fascinating translation of ideas that distinctly define a character, a moment, a desire. Learn how to tap into the most distinct dialogue you can imbue within your characters.

11/2: Playwriting Intensive - Conflict/Stakes with Amy Sass
How can you enrich the elements in your play by seeking more conflict? The play form asks playwrights to focus on drama: the crisis, the excitement, the thrill, the disturbance. If you have been blinded by your play, can’t see the future of its progress, come join us for a session on how to torque your conflict, freshen your stakes, and turn your pages into a crying exploration of how much you can push characters, drama, twists and turns!

11/30: Playwriting Intensive - Action with Jim Kleinmann
Are you cramped by too much back-story? Stuck in the “I don’t know what to do next” game? Action in your play is just like throwing a snowball down a mountain and watching it gather speed into a monster wrecking ball of force, taking out anything in its path! Or it’s just like skiing for the first time: let the action happen in the present! Seize the moment of your story; even when it is in the longest of lift lines. Action is about the forward motion of the elements in your play. PlayGround will help you in this session take control of your story and get it rocking in its most exciting rhythm.

12/7: Playwriting Intensive - Plot with Jim Kleinmann
Have you ever set your sights on traveling from point A and realized you’re actually at point G? As a writer, you are the driver, designated to show an audience your story. Before you do, how clear is your travel map? And if you don’t use maps but follow the stars, then how do you make “the how” happen? Whether you are a planner, a navigator, or a creature of inspiration, understanding your plot is a key insight to the backbone of your piece. Learn how to understand and strengthen the “how” of your play.

6-Class Subscription($168) - a 30% savings
Pick-4 Subscription($128) - a 20% savings
Pick-3 Subscription($108) - a 10% savings
Pick-2 Subscription($72) - a 10% savings 


PlayLab I (9/29-11/3) with Anthony Clarvoe
This six-session workshop will enable you to explore in greater depth the art and craft of playwriting. Some experience in theater practice, dramatic writing (straight plays, screenplays, or musicals), or writing in other genres strongly encouraged. Get the tools to launch that play! Shop talks, targeted writing exercises, and discussions will be driven by your questions and needs. The final session will include readings of student work and facilitated feedback.
Early-Bird Registration until 9/22.

PlayLab II (11/10-12/15) with Anthony Clarvoe
This six-session workshop can be taken in tandem with PlayLab I or independently and will enable you to further explore in greater depth the art and craft of playwriting. Get the tools to complete the next draft of your play-in-progress! Shop talks, targeted writing exercises, and discussions will be driven by your questions and needs. The final session will include readings of student work and facilitated feedback.
Early-Bird Registration until 10/29.


Among the most coveted programs PlayGround offers to its Writers Pool is Recess, an in-house opportunity to hear plays read aloud by professional actors and receive feedback in a private, safe setting. This year, PlayGround brings Recess to the public. Sign up for a session (or consider subscribing to the series and saving up to 30%), bring 10-15 pages and we'll provide the safe space and actors. You can guide the feedback or rely on our professional facilitator to do so. Capacity is limited.

10/7 Recess
11/4 Recess
12/2 Recess
1/6 Recess
2/3 Recess
3/2 Recess

To register, visit

About the Faculty

Anthony Clarvoe has received 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 was published last year by Random House in the anthology Plays for Two. Anthony is a regular instructor at PlayGround, Stagebridge,and the Playwrights Foundation.

Garret Jon Groenveld is a founding writer of PlayGround and seven-time winner of the Emerging Playwrights Award. Among his full-length plays include: The Empty Nesters, The Grand Divorce, The Hummingbirds, Missives and The Serving Class. His play Missives, originally commissioned by PlayGround, appeared in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2004, premiered in San Francisco in 2005 at Theatre Rhino and in New York in 2008 at 59E59 Theatres. His play The Hummingbirds won the Global Age Project at the Aurora and the Internationalists Global Playwriting Prize which has lead to an ongoing tour in Romania, two productions in Mexico City and a developmental workshop with Olympia Dukakis in New York. He is an inaugural Writer in Residence at the Playwrights Foundation, a PlayGround Resident Playwright, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.

Jim Kleinmann co-founded PlayGround in 1994 and has served as Artistic Director since 1996. For PlayGround, he has provided artistic and administrative leadership for the past twenty-one seasons, developing PlayGround’s unique array of new playwright and new play incubator programs, including Monday Night PlayGround, the PlayGround Festival, the full-length play Commissioning Initiative, the New Play Production Fund, and most recently the PlayGround Film Festival. He has directed and developed numerous new plays including Katie May's A History of Freaks and Ruben Grijalva's Value Over Replacement for the PlayGround Festival. He is a veteran arts administrator with more than twenty-five years of experience, including stints leading Traveling Jewish Theatre, Smuin Ballet and Berkeley Symphony, and received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Aaron Loeb is a playwright and video game maker. His work has been extensively produced by PlayGround and other theaters around the country. He won the 2013 Glickman Award for his play Ideation, premiered at SF Playhouse. His PlayGround-commissioned full-length plays First Person Shooter and Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party also premiered at SF Playhouse and subsequently around the country and his play, Blastosphere, co-written with Geetha Reddy, premiered at CentralWorks.

Amy Sass is a multidisciplinary artist and the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Ragged Wing Ensemble. She is recipient of the 2013 Emerging Playwright Award for her short play Significant People (also a People’s Choice Award winner) and the 2013 June Anne Baker Prize and commission.

Additional faculty to be announced.

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