Behind the Scenes: Day Two of “Say it, Shout it, Move it” A masterclass with Judith Thompson (New Groundswell Festival Nightwood Theatre)

In case you missed it, my write-up of day one is here.

In day two we had to write a monologue inspired by something in the news, from the point of view of a character affected by that news piece.  I found it far more difficult to write than writing based on a story from one of my colleagues in the room.  I wonder if that’s because there is something deeper that comes from having the story told to you by someone who has a stake in it, rather than just reading the words on a page.  There’s an interesting lesson about performance hiding in there somewhere I think.

We also moved on to dialogue in this class.  Before starting the work, Judith had us do an interesting exercise to remind us what language feels like: what is said and how.  Two people (I happened to be one of them) performed an improv piece, a serious piece with high stakes.  It really helped to inform the dialogue writing, because even though we have dialogues every day, we don’t pay attention to them in that way.

Once the dialogues were written we had the option of having someone else read with us.  It was really useful to me to hear my words coming from someone else’s mouth.  I suspect it’s like editing.  Sometimes it’s almost impossible to edit your own work, because you know what it’s supposed to sound like, so you keep missing the stuff that doesn’t work because your brain skips it.

These past two days have been a fantastic experience.  I definitely left feeling enriched, more confident with my writing, and with a hankerin’ to write something.

Tomorrow I start my masterclass with d’bi.young on The Sorplusi Method.  I’m excited, but am hoping for sleep tonight, I expect it will be one of those satisfyingly draining experiences.

Nightwood Theatre‘s New Groundswell Festival (twitter hashtag #NGfestival) runs from November 30 – December 11, 2011. It features workshop productions of theatrical works, as well as an industry series which includes five masterclasses and several panel discussions.