Moment Work: Tectonic Theater Project's Process of Devising Theater

Moment Work: Tectonic Theater Project's Process of Devising Theater


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A detailed guide to the collaborative method developed by the acclaimed creators of The Laramie Project and Gross Indecency—destined to become a classic. A Vintage Original.

By Moisés Kaufman and Barbara Pitts McAdams with Leigh Fondakowski, Andy Paris, Greg Pierotti, Kelli Simpkins, Jimmy Maize, and Scott Barrow. For more than two decades, the members of Tectonic Theater Project have been rigorously experimenting with the process of theatrical creation. Here they set forth a detailed manual of their devising method and a thorough chronicle of how they wrote some of their best-known works. This book is for all theater artists—actors, writers, designers, and directors—who wish to create work that embraces the unbridled potential of the stage.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101971772
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/17/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 716,333
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

MOISÉS KAUFMAN is the founder and artistic director of Tectonic Theater Project, a theater company based in New York City. His 1997 play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde was named one of the best plays of the year by Time, Newsday, the New York Post, The Advocate, and The New York Times. With Tectonic he has directed works by Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, Benjamin Britten, and others, and created new works including The Laramie Project and 33 Variations. He is the recipient of the 1997 Joe A. Callaway Award for excellence in the craft of stage direction. In 2016, President Obama awarded Kaufman a 2015 National Medal of Arts for "his powerful contributions to American theater."
BARBARA PITTS MCADAMS was an actor/dramaturg for The Laramie Project, performing at BAM, Alice Tully Hall, Union Square Theater, LaJolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, and Denver Center. She also appears in the HBO Films adaptation and shares an Emmy Nomination for the screenplay. Barb originally codified Moment Work for an internal teaching manual, and, as a Moment Work master teacher, leads trainings and devises new plays at colleges and high schools. She has also served as an adjunct professor for Drew University and CUNY’s Applied Theater MA program. She is a two-time Orchard Project and Sundance Theater Lab alum and a proud cast member of the award-winning web series Anyone But Me, about lesbian teens in the post-9/11 era.

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION by Moisés Kaufman

Excerpted from "Moment Work"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Moises Kaufman.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 3

Part 1 Tectonic's Antecedents, History, and Approach 7

Antecedents 9

Postmodernism and Deconstruction 9

History 15

Approach 19

The Most Prevalent Process of Playwriting 19

Defining Devised 20

Form and Content 21

Theatrical Narrative vs. Dramatic Narrative 22

Collaboration 23

The Role of the Theater Artist 23

Part 2 The Moment Work Process 25

Level 1 Making Moments 29

Prepping the Space 29

Introducing the Elements of the Stage 30

Introducing the Moment Work Construct: I begin/I end 37

Two-Person Moments 39

Group Moments 42

Concepts: Defining Moments and Moment Work 43

Architecture and Space Moments 44

Concepts: Tools for Critique 50

Prop Moments 54

Concepts: Discursive Power, Logging, and Sharing Moments 60

Costume Moments 63

Concepts: Discursive Line, Narrative Flexibility, and Layering 72

Light Moments 76

Concepts: Tension, Dynamic Change, and Scoring 88

Sound Moments 91

Text Moments 108

Adding Texts to Preexisting Moments 109

Some Additional Elements 120

Level 2 Constructing Short Narratives 125

Consecutive Sequencing 127

Moment Layering 128

Context 131

Additional Structuring Took 134

Level 3 Creating a Piece 153

The Hunch 153

Source Material 154

Organizing Principles 157

Using Throughlines 158

The Plays 160

Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde 160

The Laramie Project 176

I Am My Own Wife 212

33 Variations 218

One Arm 226

The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later 235

Uncommon Sense 242

Part 3 Essays 249

What Do We Bring into the Room? Andy Paris 253

Interview Technique, Research, and Fieldwork: Muster Some Nerve and Embark Greg Pierotti 259

A Team of Dramaturgs Jimmy Maize 271

Writing into Form: Creating the People's Temple Leigh Fondakowski 275

Brecht and the Use of the Narrator in Tectonic Plays Moisés Kaufman 283

Devising a Moment Work Play with College Students Kelli Simpkins 287

Afterword 295

Company Members' Biographies 297

Acknowledgments 305

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