A sample of Aimee Suzara’s “Poetic Moments: Flashplays and Writing for Performance” workshop on May 28
1. An example of what we will be reading:
Since this is a four-hour intensive workshop, we’ll read and view some short plays together by Aimee and participants in the National One-Minute Play Festival as published on Howlround, among others. Examples of titles by Aimee Suzara are “Hands Up,” “New Oakland,” and “Connect.” We reference ten-minute plays to differentiate between these short forms. We will also consider poems and flash fiction as other short forms that have similarities to flash plays.
2. An example exercise:
Topics for flash plays can come from a variety of sources, from observation to prompts or themes given by others. The common element is surprise. As an example, we’ll write guided by the element of surprise by observing the world outside of the classroom, identifying what I call “encounters” (meetings of people or things, intersections, places where surprise, juxtaposition, coincidence, or motivations can be sparked – and from which stories happen). Encounters can occur in memory or in real time. We’ll see how surprise enters our consciousness to create unexpected stories in these “flash” moments of witness.
3. A moment of advice:
As a multidisciplinary and multigenre writer, I want to encourage you to see how genre can be broken open, how you may lean towards liking or wanting to create in a certain genre (or art form) because of how the point of inspiration moves you. With this in mind, short plays can be a great experiment for all kinds of writers. In many ways, it’s one of the closest means to re-creating a moment of conception or spark because it involves embodying the voices and characters and setting and re-playing that moment in real time. And yet, it’s also an extremely poetic and expansive form in that one need not be linear or narrative, and especially in the short form, can be metaphorical or symbolic, representing an impression rather than the whole story. Be open to recalling those moments of impulse however they want to be recalled – be it in a static pose, a few words, no words, gestures, or dialogue. This is all possible for the short play form. Theater enables us to recreate pulses of life. Come to my workshop to try it out!
4. What to expect from the class:
Expect to both acknowledge the strengths and background you may have as a writer and reader, and to try new things. Expect to stretch yourself. Expect to write from the body and from your senses. Expect to vocalize lines and words throughout the process, since words in theater don’t only belong on the page. Expect to laugh, or to have those “a-ha” or even “hmmmm” moments as we hear and read one another’s plays. Expect to draw from what you like in film andphotography, poetry and story, even dance and music, as we explore this form. Expect to have fun.