Tag Archives: David Lane

Ty Newydd Writing for Performance Residential with Kaite O’Reilly and David Lane 13-17 July 2020

I have known and admired playwright/dramaturg/tutor David Lane for many years and so it is with the greatest of pleasure I announce our co-tutored residential at Ty Newydd, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales.

From 13-17 July 2020 we will be dreaming, writing, setting exercises, eating delicious food, sharing and critiquing work in progress, having two to one dramaturgical sessions (two dramaturgs and one writer!), having seaside walks, plotting and planning scripts in the beautiful gardens, sharing work in Lloyd George’s library and basically having the most wonderful time in the most splendid of settings. Yes, I know, I am biased, but it has been my joy to have been returning to teach at Ty Newydd for over twenty years – it is impossible not to fall in love with the place – and I’m excited about introducing David to this spectacular part of the world, as we set out on a rigorous but enjoyable residential course.

Ty Newydd

 

Writing for Performance

Mon 13 July 2020 – Fri 17 July 2020

Tutors / David Lane & Kaite O’Reilly

Course Fee / From £450 – £550 per person

Genres / Performance Scriptwriting Theatre

Language / English

This course is perfect for writers at the beginning of a new play looking for innovative, imaginative and thought-provoking ways to develop your writing for live performance. Through a combination of workshop exercises, one-to-one meetings and sharing of work in progress, you’ll explore a multitude of approaches on how to bring your work alive on the stage.

How can you follow a plan or idea for your play, but allow yourself to take risks and enjoy the freedom of spontaneity and exploration? Taking you through the nuts and bolts of applying dramatic and theatrical thinking at the earliest stage of your ideas, tutors Kaite O’Reilly and David Lane will bring their wealth of experience across a range of live performance media to the course. You’ll leave the course buzzing with ideas and with a clear roadmap for continuing your writing to completion of a first draft.

And if you’re in need of further incentive, how about an early bird discount of 10% if you book before 8 November. Code below.

Tutors

David Lane

David Lane has been making new work as a playwright and dramaturg since 2002 including commissions for Papatango, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Minack Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Half Moon Theatre and Forest Forge Theatre Company, and attachments with Bristol Old Vic and Bristol University. He has worked as dramaturg with award-winning devising companies including Fine Chisel, Dirty Market, Multistory, Theatre Rush, Scratchworks and Beaford Arts. David has contributed to writer development programmes at Soho Theatre, New Writing South, Ustinov Bath, Hull Truck, Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Bristol Old Vic, and he is an Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths College and the author of Contemporary British Drama (Edinburgh University Press, 2010).

Kaite O'Reilly

Kaite O’Reilly

Kaite O’Reilly works internationally as a playwright, dramaturg, and tutor. She won The Ted Hughes Award for New Works in Poetry for her dramatic retelling of Persians, produced by National Theatre Wales in their inaugural year. Other prizes include The Peggy Ramsay Award, The Wales Theatre Award, the Manchester Theatre Award, an Honorary Commendations for the Jane Chambers Award and an Elliot Hayes International Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy. She was a finalist in the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for women playwrights and has been shortlisted twice for the international James Tait Black Prize for Drama. Her work has been produced in fifteen countries worldwide, most recently Told by the WindLie with Me and peeling. Her critically acclaimed selected plays Atypical Plays for Atypical Actors (2016) and The ‘d’ Monologues (2018) are both published by Oberon. She teaches dramaturgy at the Intercultural Theatre Institute in Singapore and is patron of DaDaFest.

www.kaiteoreilly.com |www.kaiteoreilly.wordpress.com
@kaiteoreilly

Pain and truth and learning…. the playwright’s progress…

So what really goes on when you’re writing a play? So often I see narratives that miss out on the difficult bits – those moments where, in my experience at least, the learning happens. In these sanitised versions the play somehow falls, fully formed, onto the page and thence into the mouths of actors in the rehearsal room… Where’s the sweat, the not-knowing, the doubts, the sudden moments of clarity and certainty? Creativity comes from problem solving. I move on as a writer when I’ve struggled with something – and if not learnt something new, have found the strength to let something go.

And so onto the blogs by dramaturg and playwright David Lane. I featured some of his earlier blogs on first idea to final draft here. David emailed me again today with an update on his ACE-funded writing process public engagement blogs. ‘I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences more widely,’ he wrote, ‘particularly the painful and truthful ones!’ Which are the rare ones – and the ones I like to read, to absorb, recognise, and hopefully learn from.

So with David’s permission, I share them with you….. Painful and truthful blogs on the writing process…..

http://www.davidjohnlane.com/writing-treatments-knowledge-and-magic-ace-blog-5/

http://www.davidjohnlane.com/the-play-you-wished-youd-written-use-it-ace-blog-6/

http://www.davidjohnlane.com/how-many-drafts-make-a-play-ace-blog-7/

http://www.davidjohnlane.com/post-reading-facing-hard-truths-ace-blog-8/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest dramaturg and playwright: David Lane

I received a lovely email from the playwright and dramaturg David Lane this evening, inviting me to share his fabulous blogs on process.

David wrote:

Knowing your love of a deeper analysis of playwriting, I wanted to send you a link to this most recent blog post titled Paralysed by Process: Writing off the Grid (number 4 of 10) that is part of my public engagement promise to ACE, after they funded me with a personal grant for writing a play.

The 10 blogs are reflecting on my funded process from idea to first draft, and this fourth one made me think of you as it’s reflecting on some creative collisions between wearing the dual hats of playwright and dramaturg.

I’m afraid the blogs are crack cocaine to a process and creative junkie like me – I recommend them, but warm you, they can be highly addictive:

Blog 1: Finding Your Writing Voice
Blog 2: Asking the Best Questions of Your Writing
Blog 3: What Happens After Playwriting Research?                                                         Blog 4: Paralysed by Process: Writing off the Grid

It’s always a delight to share work and analysis of a process which often seems mystifying and mysterious.

Many thanks to David for sharing.

20 Questions…. David Lane.

Continuing my series on the same 20 questions asked to creative professionals from across the spectrum – from Burlesque to Ballet, poetry to photography. Now as his latest play opens this week, David Laneshares his answers to my 20 Questions…

David Lane

David Lane

David Lane is a playwright and dramaturg. As a writer he has been commissioned by Half Moon Young People’s Theatre and Theatre Royal Plymouth, the egg and Engage programmes at Theatre Royal Bath, Chichester Festival Theatre, Forest Forge, Salisbury Playhouse, Theatre West, Travelling Light, Immediate Theatre, Proteus Theatre, Blue Brook Productions and The British School of Beijing. He is Artistic Associate of Part Exchange Co’s interdisciplinary R&D project The Engine House in Bristol and has worked as dramaturg with award-winning devising companies including Fine Chisel, Dirty Market, multistory and with rural touring producer Beaford Arts. He is author of the book Contemporary British Drama, has written published articles exploring dramaturgy and new play development in the UK and writes the weekly playwrights’ information bulletin Lane’s List. His new play Free is at Half Moon Young People’s Theatre from 15 – 18 Oct then on national tour including Plymouth, Bath, Bristol, Portsmouth, Norwich and Canterbury. Click here for a 2-min video preview.

 'Free' by David Lane

‘Free’ by David Lane

What first drew you to your particular practice?

The Drama degree I was doing at Exeter University started a dramaturgy module in my second year, and it was about adaptation and looking at how scripts worked: I was given an assignment to create a season of plays by Contemporary Women Dramatists that I would then have to justify and ‘sell’ to an executive producer and artistic director (competently played by my two lecturers at the time). I read about 40 plays in two weeks and got hooked on structure and composition and how plays talked about the times in which they were written: it was my first training in looking at all the different maps for crafting a text that could exist, how they could all be different but be equally effective on stage, and why they mattered to the audiences of the time. I then tried to put this sort of studying into practice by writing a one-person Greek tragedy at the end of my degree, slavishly following the dramaturgical principles of a tragic narrative. It was embarrassingly rushed, but that was the beginning of my to-and-fro relationship between the right-brain of craft and dramaturgy and the left-brain of playwriting and creativity.

What was your big breakthrough?

My first commission with Half Moon Young People’s Theatre for my play Begin/End in 2007. Getting paid to write and having a play on tour and reviewed in national press felt like validation and being a grown-up professional for the first time. It shifted my attitude towards what I was doing and I began designing (though I didn’t realise it at the time) my process as a playwright.

 What is the most challenging aspect of your work/process?

I find creating characters takes me more time than anything else. Structure and dialogue and language and a sense of the theatrical are all things that I find much easier, but getting inside somebody else’s head and making informed choices about their actions in a story takes me a long time. I’ll often do a lot of research and very often the characters will absorb that information into their dynamics. It can make writing a slow process and I’m trying to challenge myself at the moment by writing quickly, reaching more inside myself than outwards to other sources of inspiration.

 Is there a piece of art, or a book, or a play, which changed you?

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was something I read at university, didn’t completely understand, still don’t, but which did that thing that sometimes happens when you encounter a significant text or work of art, of overwhelming you with its complexity – the sheer heft of thought and the reach of its ideas was mesmerising. I’ve gone back to it countless times and would love to adapt it for the stage. It’s just been adapted for radio by Peter Flannery in fact, so I’m looking forward to listening to it.

What’s more important: form or content?

Content. Form can help the heart beat stronger, but if there isn’t a heart, it’ll never live.

How do you know when a project is finished?

When I’m happy to have conversations with the rest of a creative team about it without feeling the need to go back and fiddle and change things: when I can leave the rehearsal room knowing it can speak for itself.

 Do you read your reviews?

Yes. I think getting over bad reviews (I’ve had a couple) is a good way of strengthening your mettle and a healthy reminder that you will never please everybody.

What advice would you give a young writer/practitioner?

Create the space where you can practice being a writer: don’t wait for somebody else to give it to you.

 What work of art would you most like to own?

If you could resurrect Rachmaninov and have him in the corner of my room to play his third piano concerto on tap whenever I wanted, that’d be great.

 What’s the biggest myth about writing/the creative process?

That inspiration will get you everywhere.

What are you working on now?

I’ve a new play for teenagers called Free about to go on national tour, which is exciting. I’m working on an adaptation of a brilliant adventure novel for teenagers called The Savage Kingdom by Simon David Eden for Chichester Festival Theatre; on Earthed, a site-specific audio-story in four parts about man’s relationships with the Earth across 40,000 years for Part Exchange Co; a play about the time-limited annual reunions of South and North Korean family members separated by the war 50 years ago, with director Sita Calvert-Ennals; and a play which is a response to the alleged chemical attacks by Al-Assad against his own people in Syria in August 2013 – a story that has now been consumed by much bigger media noises about Islamic State, but which I want to explore further. It’s about grief, parenting, art, protest and politics: so just a small undertaking. I also continue to work with other writers and companies as a dramaturg and workshop leader.

 What is the piece of art/novel/collection you wish you’d created?

I hope I’ve still got time to create it myself!

 What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out?

What my writing process was.

 What’s your greatest ambition?

It would be hard to beat a play at the National at some point.

 How do you tackle lack of confidence, doubt, or insecurity?

I talk to my wife who is still my best cheerleader and first-reader-of-drafts.

 What is the worst thing anyone said/wrote about your work?

That it was narrow-minded, unfeasible, illogical and hard to swallow. It was a script-reader’s report on a play I wrote one day (as in, over the course of one day) whilst at university. It was a good lesson: they were right!

 And the best thing?

‘We’d like to commission it.’

 If you were to create a conceit or metaphor about the creative process, what would it be?

Cooking. A passion to mix up what’s in the world and create something new from it. Trying to perfect a recipe. Some slow cooking, some fast cooking required. Various different sources of heat and energy available. Continually re-invented.

 What is your philosophy or life motto?

Whatever decision you make, make it the best decision you’ve made.

 What is the single most important thing you’ve learned about the creative life?

From David Eldridge: ‘at the end of the day, it’s just a fucking play.’

 What is the answer to the question I should have – but didn’t – ask?

Nicolas Cage.

'Free' by David Lane.

‘Free’ by David Lane.

 

Progressive dramaturgy….

I recently met David Lane at a workshop I was leading in ‘Alternative Dramaturgies’ at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol. We were looking at how a script ends up being the shape that it is, considering some of the other dramaturgical elements involved in making a blueprint for live performance outside dialogue, characterisation and action. My interest was in exploring the organisational principles which might inform process and the dramatic structure, including aspects such as logic, tempo rhythm, metaphor, poetic/dramatic schema, and so on…

This exploration of dramaturgy continued this morning, when David sent me an email about his involvement in Hannah Silva’s The Disappearance of Sadie Jones, currently in production at Exeter’s Bike Shed Theatre. David and Hannah were in discussion earlier this week about process and dramaturgy, and a transcription of that conversation is available on Hannah’s blog, at the link, below. David wrote:

‘Our hope is that it not only creates a useful window on the work of the dramaturg but also opens up some vital questions about how new plays are developed, why progressing our dramaturgical thinking around what a play is might be useful, and how embracing different development processes for writers might entertain a broader range of new plays being produced.’ 

I fully support this and feel wider discussion is necessary. Lyn Gardner, Suzanne Bell, Fin Kennedy, Dawn Walton, David Eldridge and myself came to similar conclusions about the necessity for more flexible developmental processes for writers in our panel discussion at West Yorkshire Playhouse’s festival last Spring. Perhaps if we keep having these discussions, and publicising the debates, change may happen…?

(I’m hopeful…We’re playwrights and dramaturgs… we’re optimistic…we know about change…)

http://hannahsilva.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/progressive-dramaturgy/