Throughout the trimester there will be 5 separate day-long intensive master classes in specific areas of playwriting techniques, which will underpin the practical work of the term. You will have 8 hours of individual mentoring and tutorial time in script development. Beginning with a series of short scene ‘etudes’, you will spend the first half of the trimester working with mentors, who will be supporting you during set challenges which will be looking very specifically at character and dialogue.
You will also have a series of meetings with students on the BA Acting courses throughout the term, to explore themes and ideas for Edinburgh Festival productions. You may choose to work with one or more teams, and you may also elect to produce more than one draft of work.
The aim of the module is to allow both studio and desk-based development time toward a staged reading of sample scene script/s at the end of term.
Beginning with an intensive week of instruction (20 hours), you will focus on developing a critical understanding of the elements of dramatic story-telling (character, dialogue, plot, visuals, theme, etc.), language and tropes and on the varieties of dramatic structure – from simple chronological narrative to more sophisticated techniques of time-manipulation and exploitation of suspense. You will face a set of project-based challenges in order to consolidate your learning. You will have regular tutorials throughout the trimester to monitor progress and discuss ideas, and each project will have observation/mentoring time as agreed (6 hours) through weekly tutorials and rehearsals. Each of these project-based challenges will be set with increasing time requirements. Examples might include:
A two-minute opening ‘montage’ with minimal dialogue, adapted from a painting, sculpture or piece of music.
A three-minute scene adapted from a poem or short story.
A three to four-minute minute scene adapted from a current event news story
A final project scene adaptation from any source.
Projects will be produced in collaboration with directors and playwrights, Napier graduate actors, and with students on the Acting & English and the Acting for Stage & Screen courses.
During your ‘mini-placement’ you will be expected to work with and support a full scale in house production for the Acting programmes at Edinburgh Napier as a production assistant. You will have opportunity to observe how texts are realised by experienced directors, while learning some of the practicalities of realizing a stage production.
The module culminates in a workshop presentation, where directors and playwrights will be teamed with actors to create a piece of original drama adapted from an extant source. You will accompany this final project with an analytical essay (1000 words).
Working in a small tutorial group, you will be focusing on a number of plays, ranging from Greek drama to the present day. Along with conducting appropriate contextual research, you will be carrying out a literary analysis of form, style, structure, language and thematic ideas. Each play will be examined in terms of the very specific challenges it poses in practical production. There will be two projects to complete – one purely analytical in terms of the relationships between language, character and narrative; and one (theoretically) practical in which a number of challenges are identified, along with a series of proposed practical solutions in production. Your presentation and resultant peer exchange will form a significant part of the learning and early in the term a calendar of presentation dates will be agreed.