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Playwriting workshop draws in future writers

By Joshua Vail
On April 14, 2010

Another writing-centered event is starting at Ottawa University, focusing on playwriting.

Julie Noonan, Assistant Professor of Theatre at OU, said that the event is a playwriting workshop that started on Tuesday.

"The students involved will be writing and working on short plays with our alumni guest playwright, David Malone," she said.

Noonan said that Malone was an accomplished poet and playwright from the Ozarks.

"His plays have been produced in several Midwestern venues," she said. "His one-act play, Christopsomo, was one of the winners in the Just Off Broadway Theater 2007 Holiday Festival."

Malone, a 1991 graduate of OU who majored in English as well as getting a teaching certificate, said that he has lived a poet's life.

"I have travelled extensively. I went to graduate school at Indiana State, got a master's in English. Taught off and on, taught typically college classes in English," he said. "I've held all sorts of jobs because that's the poet's life is sort of getting all kinds of life experience so I've been in and out of academia."

Vanessa Healey, sophomore theater major and one of the participants in the playwriting workshop, said that the writing prompt for the short play has already been sent to the participants.

"The prompt he gave us is ‘Character A says to character B: Did you bring it,'" she said. "We're not allowed to know anything about our characters, anything about the setting, nothing, because we're doing this all out of intuition."

Healey said that writing the play was very difficult because of her writing style.

"I have a character in mind and that character writes my story and so for me to not have a character is very difficult for me," she said. "It's only supposed to be two characters. "There can be no third voice at all."

Noonan said that the writing prompt would be the start of a weeklong process.

During the week, they will meet several times to read through their work, receive feedback and suggestions and be asked to do revisions for their next session," she said. "It should be a great opportunity for involved students to actively work on plays in progress."

Malone said that he sees his role as a guide and facilitator.

"We'll do it in a way that lots of folks can give the writers input," he said. "And they'll have to decide what they want to keep."

Julie Noonan said that the finished plays will be read on Friday, April 16.

"The public is invited, so the students writing will get a chance to have their work heard by others," she said. "Students will also be involved in the reading, so they will get a chance to perform."

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