Any prose benefits from sharpening the tools most often associated with playwriting: monologue, dialogue, and silence. Whether it is in the compelling presence of the monologue in the radio work of NPR’s Ira Glass and David Sedaris, the sharp stylized dialogue in the plays of Harold Pinter and August Wilson, the aching humor found in the scripts of Amazon’s Transparent, or the wry poignant humor in the stories of Lorrie Moore, modern prose leans heavily on theatrical instances of people speaking to each other and to themselves. In this workshop, we’ll look at some of these examples as a bridge to generating our own writing. Using gossip, dreams, and photographs, listening to voices, reading aloud, writing in class, and working collaboratively, we’ll undertake experiments to create different modes of dialogue and monologue. We’ll make writing that steps off the page and into the mouths of real and imagined people. At the end of the week, we’ll perform/read our new work. This workshop welcomes makers from playwriting, short story, film, and performance.
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.