I live in New York and am a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild, but a lot of people are under the impression I live in Chicago because I'm a resident playwright at Chicago's Victory Gardes Theatre. I've done a dozen shows with Victory Gardens since my first show there in 1979. The most recent, a courtroom drama based on fact called COURT-MARTIAL AT FORT DEVENS, opened in February. An anthology of ten of my plays will be published in the spring of 2008.
Also wrote a book about the flagship improvisational theatre, Second City, called SOMETHING WONDERFUL RIGHT AWAY. Also wrote two books on playwriting, THE DRAMATIST'S TOOLKIT and SOLVING YOUR SCRIPT. All three, happily, still in print.
I do a fair amount of teaching. Currently I'm affiliated with the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Also, every summer, I teach at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Center and as part of the annual Summer Improv Retreat. I'm a great believer in the value of improvisational experience to playwrights. I find a strong correlation between improvisational theory as laid out by Viola Spolin and Del Close to playwriting theory. My books go into detail about this correlation. The Summer Improv Retreat is held near Woodstock, New York; I teach a workshop there in scene creation using improvisational principles. Drop me a line if you want info and an excuse to spend a week in Woodstock splendor.
The message I was typing suddenly vanished, so I'm trying again (forgive me, please, if both show up). This is my first day on the forum and I'm delighted to see such an international crowd--and especially thrilled to finally have the chance to say I love THE DRAMATIST'S TOOLKIT. Thank you, Jeffrey Sweet! Your book has helped me more than I can say in writing both plays and novels.
WOMEN OF MAGDALENE, my latest novel just released from Kunati, was very influenced by playwriting techniques, esp. regarding props, dialogue, and lots of subtext (the book's a bit dark and Southern gothic). I plan to be in NYC area and Fairfield, CT, for signings during the first week of December. If those of you in the area have recommendations for some good off-off theatre, I'd appreciate hearing from you.
Hey there 'Sweet' teacher
This is your two time student from CT-Peggy Sperling. First was Norwich, the second was in Stratford SquareWrights. I have three of your books and 'Solving Your Script' is my favorite. It's helped me to get three more plays up. While it took me a while-2 years to find this note I'm really glad you're here.
We're looking forward to your returning to our area.
Which reminds me, I don't think I ever introduced myself. I'm a 59 yr old playwright. Graduated almost 10 years ago after returning to college l to get a degree in Playwrighting /Dramatic Literature. Being disabled I don't get to write as much as I'd like but I've been lucky enough to have plays put on, mostly 10 min. pieces, for local state festivals and a few one acts. There are so many 10 min play festivals here that I've average to 1-3 plays a year with a few years dropped here and there for health reasons.
I also teach beginning playwriting at evening courses for Adult Learning classes for town recreation classes or a local theatre academy, and this year at a college.
On the other hand, I have so much to learn. Just this weekend one of my plays was up for a 3 day festival. It was awful listening to my exposition! I never enjoy watching my plays. And I'm always surprised that my work is chosen out of a group of other submissions. I know it sounds crazy but I really don't like to see-hear my work, no matter how hard I've tried to make them their best. It is really gratifying to get accepted but that's usually my best day in the life of a play and am very thankful to be accepted. It helps to endure the agonies of defeat when a play's rejected.