Deconstructing The American West (Spring 2021)
Online
Class, Virtual
May 19, 2021

May 19 – Jun. 30
6:00pm – 9:00pm Central Time

Instructor: Ean Miles Kessler

This course strips the John Wayne veneer off the American West, to expose the dark history (and the stories) that lie at its root. Students will generate new work centering on the American West, exploring ways to subvert common held notions and tropes, by looking through the lens of race, gender, sexuality and more. Each class, students will have their new pages read aloud and workshopped, to receive constructive criticism within a safe space. Time will be allotted to discussing ideas, scenes, and full plays, and writing exercises and prompts will be used to spur creativity. We’ll look at raising the stakes of your work; how to drive the plot forward; the iconography intrinsic to the American West, and how to bring those elements to the stage in theatrical and vibrant ways. We’ll also examine the role that violence plays in a piece, and how to use it effectively to force your character forward. This course culminates in a Zoom presentation of student work in an eighth class, open to the public, with professional actors.

This class is ideal for students with experience ranging from beginner to advanced.

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