Visceral Playwriting and the Boardroom

Do you see it?

Years ago I did a playwriting workshop with Linda Griffiths (still, after all these years, probably best known for Maggie and Pierre, although I think Alien Creature: A Visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwen is a better play).  I don’t recall now what it was that actually made the playwriting “visceral” but my main take-away from the course is that Linda likes to eavesdrop and the course participants should too.  While most of us would be looking to maximize our distance from our fellow passengers, Linda was all about saddling up to that group of teenagers in the subway.  Being an actor meant that Linda was not just interested in the what (and the how) of others’ conversation but also all those body ticks that go with it.  The recent mother who tucked clenched fists under her shirt, stretching it outward.  The man who pursed his lips in time with his blinking.  My recent observation of a man stroking his tie the way a teenage girl might play with her hair put me in mind of Linda and her course.  Forget the subway, the boardroom is also ripe for picking.

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