I distill and transmit information in a variety of mediums. I also make art―which may or may not be distilled/transmitted―in a variety of mediums.
Often the two mix.
$ feh Rejected\ Passport\ Photo.jpg
There are gaps; between prevalent teaching tools for playwriting (i.e. Aristotle) and current artistic trends (e.g. postmodernism); between intellectual property law as written (i.e. permission-oriented) and digital practice in reality (i.e. remix-heavy); between pre-web professors and their post-web students. This dissertation examines these gaps in order to lay a new foundation for playwriting exercises. New playwriting tools are needed so that we can educate a new generation of playwrights. These new tools cannot be primarily based on Aristotle’s two-thousand year old approach. Traditional storytelling tenets like causality and linearity have been inadequate at least since the emergence of postmodernism. Drawing on research into creativity, motivation, and professional writing, this dissertation modifies tenets of other art forms as a starting point for contemporary playwriting exercises. The resulting document provides a comprehensive look at the inherent conflicts within these gaps and outlines a strategy to move forward: creating new exercises. Rationale and background is provided for the new exercises and they are tested in process by writers and in product by professional respondents. While the sample sizes were small, the new exercises do increase the presence and strength of contemporary tenets in a playwrights work. The appendix includes all 20 new exercises and 25 ten-minute playscripts (20 of which are the result of one of the new exercises).
Playwright Will Eno has been inseparably linked to the genre of Absurdism and to playwright Samuel Beckett due to New York Times reviewer Charles Isherwood’s catchphrase heavy review of Eno’s best known work, Thom Pain (based on nothing). Due to the easily quotable genre provided by Isherwood, Eno has been under-analyzed as a practitioner of the theatre, causing his unique and important contributions to remain unnoticed. Through a careful reading of Eno’s currently available works, production reviews, critical essays, relevant theories, and blog postings, this thesis reevaluates Eno and his oeuvre apart from Playwright Samuel Beckett and the genre of Absurdism. Eno’s use of literature as form, conceptually mediatized diegesis, the stage as setting, compressed binaries, and the absent word (first noted by Marc Silverstein) set him apart from Beckett and the Absurdists. Eno and his works deserve further study and analysis beyond what they have been granted presently. This thesis presents and analyzes the unique blending of techniques employed by playwright Will Eno.
Winner of the Outstanding Thesis Award, First Prize
“While a master’s student, Kyle Conway began his inquiry into the works of Will Eno, who has been described as ‘…a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart Generation.’ Conway’s approach to the thesis, however, constitutes ‘…an in- depth study of a living playwright’s currently available works from the starting point of the major themes, word choices, and motifs of the plays themselves, rather than from the assumption that Eno has an innate relationship to Beckett or the genre of Absurdism.’ Eno’s work involves interplay between linguistics and philosophy: for instance, ‘In Eno’s plays sentences can no longer be formed, there is an inability to connect the thought to the word, the characters experience speechlessness, and they eventually succumb even to attempts at communication via individual letters in a desperate attempt to define themselves through an effort to grasp an unlocatable meaning.’ Thus, Conway’s research must transcend a single discipline, and he uses the influential linguist and philosopher Jacques Derrida as a critical lens. Conway notes, ‘Although I focus my thoughts on how to impact the theatre, my research easily goes beyond theatre to other fields in order to explain many concepts.’”
Des Moines Playhouse ― Iowa
St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra ― Minnesota
* I was born between the first & second World Wars. * I sold newspapers for my family but was fired when I created too many paper hats. * My soul occasionally rises and falls with the sounds of the ocean which carried my grandfather to this country from Bologna. * I don’t touch knives on account of the missing pinky finger on my left hand. * I didn’t lose the finger because of a knife… though that seems like the most likely scenario. * Fictionally, I lost my pinky finger while chasing a balloon across a farm field. Damn Windmill! * I stopped believing in the truth when my father gave up clowning and became a tax collector. * When I sit on the curb my large legs press my knees up next to my chin. From this position they more easily create a tunnel into which the water from passing cars can more efficiently be directed into my face. * When Nixon was elected I sat on the floor and didn’t get up until I was arrested for blocking the overpass of the freeway. * When Lincoln was shot and killed I wasn’t alive… but I laughed heartily at the illustrations.