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EN 501: MFA Short Residency: Acting for Writers

a guide for students enrolled in the MFA short residency (Summer 2023)


EN 501: Acting for Writers is an immersive/conservatory-style five-day short residency course that will require a larger than normal amount of reading of several craft essays/articles meant to stimulate critical discussions of both the writing, revising, and even acting processes.  By the end of this interactive class, you will have broadened your content literacy of creative writing as a whole, strengthened your artistic voice and eye through adaptation and characterization challenges of building narrative specifically engineered to the inclusive craft of theatre, as well as deepened your understanding of how to better "physicalize," enhance, and activate language—even within your own genres—to avoid unnecessary pitfalls of weak writing such as empty modifiers, heavy exposition, and contrived, expected scene scaffolding and dialogue.


Goals for the course:

  • To engage in established performance techniques common to the modern, realistic actor.
  • To vigorously apply these actor-techniques to various genres of creative writing by highlighting the specific strengths of theatrical elements such as improvisation and role-playing in a concentrated effort to add depth to current works-in-progress, and beyond.
  • To supplement interpretive and evaluative critiques through further discussion of essays by American writers and dramatic theorists.
  • To experience the thrill and challenge of revising creative works with a sole emphasis on visual storytelling components, regardless of genre, with the intense focus on physically and actively embedding these visuals through language.