Course B - Oh Brave, New World That Has Such Plays In’t: Directing language-based approaches to playwriting

Thomas Conway

‘What we do share, I think, is a sense of play: we are all playing with theatrical conventions, structure, and language in ways that excite us…’ Young Jean Lee (playwright) ‘In this dramatic universe, acuity of perception and theatrical high jinks are their own reward.’ Mac Wellman (playwright) What have The Wire, Mad Men and Deadwood in common? They are written by playwrights who have cut their teeth with new approaches to playwriting. And what makes them so new? They are having fun with language and letting audiences in on the fun. But what’s the big deal, haven’t plays always been language-based? Ah, but they haven’t drawn attention to the fun that can be had with language quite like these plays do. These plays are exuberant, outlandish, ribald, dangerous, scandalous, breathtaking and fully engaged in our world. These plays are alert to how language is used in our everyday lives as never before, and they break a few rules to let the fun take over. Suitable for both novice and more advanced directors, the course will bring tried-and-trusted directorial approaches to bear on some of the best new plays of our times. You will discover how the techniques of improvisation can take on a whole new level of inventiveness and exhilaration when rehearsing these new plays. You will also discover the sense of liberation that comes with these plays, not only for everyone working on them, but also for audiences.

Thomas Conway works as a director, dramaturg, editor and lecturer. Directing credits include the world première of Enda Walsh’s Gentrification. As a dramaturg, he has worked with Druid, Painted Bird, Pan Pan, and Michael Keegan Dolan, among others. He is the editor of The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Irish Theatre. He teaches contemporary theatre at The Lír: National Academy of Dramatic Art and at NUI Galway.