This is a workshop to be enjoyed standing up. Using techniques borrowed from Viola Spolin’s Theater Games and NPR’s This American Life, we will write a play or theatrical monologue that can be performed on stage and in front of people. We will write in the session, generating at least four short pieces over the two days. We will examine the effects that surprise, freshness, and challenge have on how we tell stories. We will look at our dreams, our fears, our family histories, happenstance, even articles from The New York Times as sources of inspiration. There are no prerequisites in terms of prior writing, but I will urge you to keep a dream journal in the month or so before class and bring it to our first meeting.
Beau O’Reilly is co-curator of the Rhinoceros Theater Festival, a frequent contributor to This American Life, and a professor of playwriting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a founding member of the Curious Theater Branch (now in its 28th year), the Crooked Mouth band, and the humbly legendary Maestro Subgum and the Whole. The author of over 90 original plays, O’Reilly is also a working actor. In 2016, he appeared in the title role in Matt Rieger’s Playing God, directed Ionesco’s Rhinoceros for the Curious Theater Branch, and his new play One Boppa: Two Acts was produced this fall. He released a third album with The Crooked Mouth, LoveLoveLoveLoveSTOPLoveLoveLove, on Uvulittle Records, published a short story in the compilation “We Speak Chicagoese,” and his new play Last Week will premiere in January 2017. O’Reilly has produced, curated, and directed work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Poetry Foundation, Steppenwolf Studio, and Links Hall, and has been named one of Chicago theater’s “most influential” a half dozen times.