By Dahn Hiuni
This fall, Jefferson Market University is providing me with a wonderful opportunity to teach its first-ever course in playwriting. Open to beginners as well as to those seeking feedback on plays in progress, the class will provide a no-pressure, creative community for aspiring playwrights. Excitingly, the course will also enable participants to see their work performed by professional actors in a culminating evening of short scenes. That event will be open to the public.
I am a New York-based playwright and longtime arts educator. My work has been presented at P.S. 122, Franklin Furnace, the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, and the Walker Art Center. My play Murmurs and Incantations was honored with the Award for Excellence in Playwriting at the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival, where it played at the historic SoHo Playhouse to critical acclaim. Initially, I trained as an actor and within professional dance, with stage credits including: My Fair Lady, Sweet Charity, Fiddler on the Roof, and what I consider to be my career highlight—playing the role of Paul in A Chorus Line. However, with a growing desire to tell my own stories rather than to interpret others’, I eventually turned to playwriting. I went back to school and earned an M.F.A. and eventually a Ph.D. in performance studies.
I am extremely excited about this course. According to playwright and author Julie Jensen, more people attempt to write plays than any other literary forms. I believe that we will provide a wonderful opportunity for students to explore and fulfill that goal, one scene at a time. We will cover all of the basic elements, including dramatic structure, story and theme, character, dialogue, motivation and subtext, and creative voice. I am particularly honored to be teaching playwriting in the heart of Greenwich Village, a place so rich in history for both the American playwright and American theater.
The course meets at the Jefferson Market Library on Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. between September 9th and October 28th.