Posted in Teaching, Theatre, Writing

ENG 126: Drama Workshop, Session 1

Welcome to our first drama workshop and our first WordPress gathering. Although I wouldn’t have chosen for us to work exclusively online as a community of writers, I value the opportunity that it will afford us, in May, to look back and weigh the merits of the two versions of our class: the before and the after–or, more accurately, the before and during (COVID-19 time).

The points I have included below are not ones that you’re required to address in your comments. I offer them as suggestions only. I will probably address some of them in the follow-up remarks that I’ll post at the beginning of our second session.

  • From the first line of the play, we know what one of the characters wants. What do other characters want? How do the conflicts among their desires advance the action?
  • In Imaginative Writing, Janet Burroway notes that “good dialogue will convey most of its tone as an integral part of the lines, and when this is the case, there is no need to announce the tone of voice in a stage direction” (327). Are all of the tonal directions necessary? If not, which ones could be omitted?
  • The particular day, year, and hour of the setting are essential to the play. Are any other time or setting cues essential as well?
  • What is the symbolic significance of the ’87 black Chevy Silverado? What other set pieces take on symbolic significance?
  • What plays, if any–ones in Imaginative Writing or others that you’ve read–would you recommend to the writer as models or possible sources of inspiration?
  • And lastly, some what ifs: What if Harry and Henry were never on stage at the same time? What if Sally was alone with Harry at the beginning of scene 1? She could still make the same mistake, and Harry could still correct her–but then what?

Post your response of twenty-five words or more as a reply. If you address a point that one of your classmates has written in a previous reply, mention that classmate by name in your own reply.

You are welcome to post more than once.

Remember to check your CVCC email and Blackboard regularly for updates and assignments.

 

Posted in Reading, Teaching

ENG 242: Stranger than Fiction

Dear Readers,

Oscar-winning director Gillermo Del Toro first read Frankenstein when he was a fourteen-year-old growing up in Mexico. Mary Shelley’s novel transformed him. As we conclude our study of Frankenstein, consider these words of his:

I saved my Sunday allowance for a couple of weeks and bought it [the paperback]. I read it in one sitting, and by the end of it, I was weeping. It was my Road to Damascus. It illuminated the reason I love monsters, my kinship with them, and showed me how deep, how life-changing, a monster parable could be–how it could function as art and how it could reach across distance and time to become a palliative to solitude and pain.

And here we are, two centuries later, faithfully depositing flowers to this most exquisite storyteller, this extraordinary Galatea who refused to be shaped by her circumstances and gave us all life. And we try, in return, to help her creature stay alive. We strive to turn a curse into a blessing.

We hope that in some way, somehow, our gratitude, our love, can reach him like a whispered prayer, like a distant song. And we dream that perhaps he can stop–amid that frozen tundra and the screaming wind–and can turn his head and look back. At us.

And we hope that then he might recognize in our eyes his own yearning. And perchance we can walk toward each other and find meager warmth in our embrace.

And then, if only for a moment, we will not feel alone in the world. (xiv-xv)

Although Mary Shelley’s novel may not have transformed you as it did Del Toro, you are reading, or rereading, its final chapters as the COVID-19 pandemic transforms all of our daily lives.

  • Have the unprecedented circumstances of the past two weeks altered your perceptions of Shelley’s novel? If so, how?
  • If you’d rather not write about finishing Frankenstein in the days of coronavirus, write about one of the novel’s themes or one of the moments in the narrative that lingers in your mind.
  • Or respond to Del Toro’s remarks.

Post your response of twenty-five words or more as a reply. If you address a point that one of your classmates has written in a previous reply, mention that classmate by name in your own reply. In the coming weeks we may turn back to some of your replies/comments as we study Dickens, Carroll, Stevenson, and Doyle.

Remember to check your CVCC email and Blackboard regularly for updates and assignments.

Sincerely Sequestered,

Dr. Lucas

Work Cited

Del Toro, Guillermo. Introduction. “Mary Shelley, or the Modern Galatea.” The New Annotated Frankenstein. By Mary Shelley, edited by Leslie S. Klinger, W. W. Norton, 2017, pp xi-xvii.

Postscript

And the early-bird bonus points go to these CVCC Red Hawks: Grey Sacona, Caeley Arney, Madison St. Clair, Gabe Carswell, Chandler Danner, Lauren Setzer, Jenna Ramsey, Joshua West, Ruben Castillo, and Joe Van Story! Well Done!