Playwriting workshop at Wells Memorial Library

UPPER JAY — A playwriting workshop focused on studying the work of masters such as Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, Lorraine Hansberry and Arthur Miller will begin this spring at Wells Memorial Library .

The workshop, which is geared to beginning playwrights as well as seasoned ones, is free and open to all adults and middle school, high school and college-aged students, funded by a Decentralization Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

The aim of this workshop, titled “Writing the Naturalistic Play as a Method of Reporting the Truth: Modeling Chekhov, Ibsen, Hansberry and Miller in 2019,” is to aid participants in exploring naturalistic playwriting by reading and analyzing plays by several great playwrights as well as Konstantin Stanislavski, the great Russian acting teacher and theorist whose work resulted in the Method approach to acting and directing as we know it today. In addition to writing their own individual play, participants will be encouraged to participate in a Wiki-type group playwriting project (i.e., via Google Drive) in writing a modern adaptation of Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People.”

The workshop will be led by Fred Balzac, a freelance writer, editor and community/nonprofit organizer whose work has won awards in journalism, essay writing and playwriting. Several of his plays have been produced, and he has written extensively on theater for such publications as the Lake Champlain Weekly, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, the Columbia Daily Spectator and Northern HGL magazine, which he edited for five years beginning in 2014. Fred earned a B.A. in English from Columbia University, where he wrote a senior thesis that examined the “Hidden Roots” of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Buried Child.”

Two opening sessions will be held at the library — on Saturday, June 1, at 9 a.m. and Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. — at which point a regular schedule of sessions will be determined with the input of workshop participants present. Sessions will run through summer and extend into late fall of 2019. Participants may attend one or both opening sessions, and individuals interested in theater as well as playwriting are encouraged to participate whether they want to write a play or focus only on investigating what makes a great naturalistic play.

To learn more, contact Fred at feb6@caa.columbia.edu or 518-588-7275.

This project is made possible with the funds from the Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.

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