“Playwriting and the Playwright,” a Freshman writing-intensive course devised by Geoffrey Nelson, is being offered at Denison University this semester. Focusing on both creative and expository writing, the class allows students to study traditional dramatic structure, playwriting, theatre criticism and dramatic literature.
In addition to writing critiques of scripts such as The Importance of Being Earnest and Doubt, students will also watch interviews with playwrights such as Harold Pinter, Alan Ayckbourn and Edward Albee discussing their approaches to writing. After several shorter playwriting exercises (one, for instance, focused on writing dialogue and another on exposition), the class will culminate in the writing of a 10-page play.
Taking advantage of the Jonathan R. Reynolds Playwright-in-Residence program this semester, students will also attend the world premiere of The Malvolio Project by Betty Shamieh, produced by the Department of Theatre, and then have the opportunity to ask the playwright questions when she visits the class.
The chief textbook for the course is The Art and Craft of Playwriting by Jeffrey Hatcher, a Denison alumni.