Mr. Patterson's Blog

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Writer’s Craft Presentation Order

PLEASE NOTE: ATTENDANCE DURING PRESENTATIONS IS MANDATORY. UNEXPLAINED MISSED CLASSES WITH RESULT IN A ‘ZERO’ PRESENTATION MARK.

I DON’T CARE HOW NICE IT IS OUTSIDE.

SERIOUSLY. 

SHOW UP!

PERIOD C

Presentation Dates:

 

Tues May 23rd

  1. Marissa

2. Sydney

3.Isabelle

4.Tyler

5. Victoria

Thurs May 25th

1.Dan

2.Leah

3. Brett

4. Bethany

5. Abby

Mon May 29th

  1. Ailish

2. Ben

3. Taylor

4. Anna

5. Colton

Wed May 31st

  1. Andrew

2. Simone

3. Jazz

4. Gwen

5. Kirsten

Fri June 2nd

  1. Tim

2. Sarah

3. Emma

4. Cameron

5.

June 6th

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

PERIOD E

Presentation Dates:

 

May 24th

  1. Lake

2. Simon

3. Holly

4. Will

5. Sarah

May 26th

  1. Ruxandra

2. Owen

3. Sophie

4. Molly

5. Geneva

May 30th

  1. Ashley

2. Kai

3. Chloe

4. Anna

5. Ella

June 1st

  1.  Val

2. Jack

3.  Alima

4. Davis

 

June 5th

  1. Sophie

2. Stephie

3. Max

4. Fiona

 

 


Last Four Writing Prompts

Hey Gang,

With your journals all done, I figured I’d make it easy to find your last four writing prompts. I’ve put them all here. Make sure your journal has all of them before handing it in.

Patterson

 

PROMPT 1:

So today we took our first stab at joke writing. We opened with telling jokes. After that, we looked at different jokes styles and talked about what it takes to write a joke.

After that, I gave people the first prompt for this unit. It’s a pretty simply one so you can spend time making sure it’s funny.

PROMPT 1: Joke Writing

Today we’re going to take a stab at the easiest form of joke writing: PUN JOKES. You’re going to write 3 jokes with pun (or near pun) punch lines.To help give you a little direction, I’ll give you some criteria.

Joke 1

SUBJECT – FISH

Joke 2

SUBJECT – FOOD

Joke 3

SUBJECT – Your choosing

Good luck.

Patterson

 

PROMPT 2

Hey Guys,

Today we worked on our second prompt. It was an attempt to write a little satire. To do this we studies 3 news briefs, two from THE ONION and one from THE BEAVERTON. All three followed the exact same style.

  • Opening: All the conceptual information
  • Mid Section: Quote from person involved
  • End: Expansion on joke with added information

I then asked every to try writing their own. Here’s how to write one.

  • Pick something that you hate/makes you mad/annoys you
  • Think about the specific thing about that person/situation that makes you mad
  • Write a news brief that mocks that specific thing.
  • Use the handout as a guide. If you have difficulty, ask other students what they did. All the ones people read to the class were excellent.

Good Luck.

 

PROMPT 3

Today we did a couple of exciting things. First we went over a list of basic tips on writing classical theater. For many of the other theater styles we observed (Modernist, Absurdist, etc) these rules go out the window but for most theater these rules apply. After reading them, we did a writing prompt to put them into practice.

PROMPT:

STEP 1 to 3 on a loose sheet of paper.

Step One: Invent two characters. Give them names and a few distinct personality traits. What is the relationship/history of these two characters?

Step Two: Pick a location for these two characters to inhabit

Step Three: Come up with an event that is coming up soon in the lives of these characters

AT THIS POINT YOU WILL EXCHANGE  YOUR PAPER WITH SOMEBODY ELSE. IF YOU WERE NOT IN CLASS THAT DAY, JUST DO STEP FOUR WITH YOUR OWN INFORMATION

Step Four: Write the opening of a play using the information provided by the sheet you are handed. Try to give us all this information as indirectly as possible.

 

PROMPT 4

Hey Gang,

Here it is…Your last writing prompt. Take a second to collect your feelings. Better? OK, let’s go. We’ve spent the last 3 weeks with the gang of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County. We read the play, watched the film and deconstructed the characters. Today we’re going to engage this thing one last time before we put Violet, Ivy, Little Charles and the rest away for good. Despite the play being nearly 3 hours (and the film a solid 2) I think it’s just not long enough. That’s where you come in.

TASK: Write an additional scene from the play August: Osage County

GUIDELINES: Your scene must me located WITHIN the play. This means you cannot write something that happened before the start or after Barbara walks out that door – possibly for the last time.

What could you write?

Maybe something the play hints at….

  • Karen shows Steve the old clubhouse only to find it torn down
  • Conversation at the card table
  • Conversation among the family as they hunt for pills.

Or something completely fabricated

  • Johanna calling a friend and describing her first week of work
  • Mattie Fay apologizing to Charlie about how she treats little Charles
  • Bev’s ghost coming to Violet in the middle of the night

The possibilities are endless. Well, maybe not endless but you’ve got a lot of options.

I look forward to hearing them.

Patterson


Final Prompt for the Year… #sad

Hey Gang,

Here it is…Your last writing prompt. Take a second to collect your feelings.

Better? OK, let’s go.

We’ve spent the last 3 weeks with the gang of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County. We read the play, watched the film and deconstructed the characters. Today we’re going to engage this thing one last time before we put Violet, Ivy, Little Charles and the rest away for good.

Despite the play being nearly 3 hours (and the film a solid 2) I think it’s just not long enough. That’s where you come in.

TASK: Write an additional scene from the play August: Osage County

GUIDELINES: Your scene must me located WITHIN the play. This means you cannot write something that happened before the start or after Barbara walks out that door – possibly for the last time.

What could you write?

  • Maybe something the play hints at….
  • Karen shows Steve the old clubhouse only to find it torn down
  • Conversation at the card table
  • Conversation among the family as they hunt for pills.

Or something completely fabricated

  • Johanna calling a friend and describing her first week of work
  • Mattie Fay apologizing to Charlie about how she treats little Charles
  • Bev’s ghost coming to Violet in the middle of the night

The possibilities are endless. Well, maybe not endless but you’ve got a lot of options.

I look forward to hearing them.

Patterson

 

 


Osage: Orange County Bonus Assignment

Hey Gang,

So this week we’re going to take a look at the film adaptation of August: Osage County.  Anyway, I promised there would be a bonus assignment available, for those of you looking to pump up your marks a touch. Here it is…

BONUS ASSIGNMENT

You’re going to analyze this film adaption of Tracy Lett’s August: Osage County. Your analysis should be approximately 500 words long, but feel free to go over. Make sure to use specific examples from the play and the film to make your answers clear. You may use the questions below for guidance but feel free to go off on your own ideas, as long as you keep the focus on a comparison of the two stories, not just rambling plot summary.

  • The film is a relatively faithful adaptation of the play. However that does not mean there are not a number of changes from the source material. These changes come in three forms: addition, deletion and alteration. Give examples and provide explanations for the addition, deletion and alteration of…
    • Character
    • Setting/Location
    • Events
  • The key to a play is casting. What do you make of the casting/performances? Were roles miscast or perfectly performed? How did the portrayal on film differ from the one you imagined when we read the play
  • Film Technique: Translating a play to film is difficult since plays are sedentary and film audiences expect a movie to be kinetic. What film techniques does John Wells use to give life to this adaptation. Consider things life shot types (close up to wide shots), camera movement, angles, music, color filters and editing.

If you need to rewatch the film, is it available on Netflix.

If you need the script, borrow a copy from me.

 

I’ll collect this assignment anytime until the final day of class.

Patterson


August: Osage County – Character Assignment

Thanks to your excellent reading, we just finished August: Osage County in record time. Now that we’ve enjoyed it, it’s time to suck all the enjoyment out of it through trenchant analysis. Weeeee!!!!!

I decided that since this is a character piece, we’d analyze it through the lens of character. Below I’ve listed all the roles in the play. In small groups of 2 or 3 (depending on the character), you’re going to perform some deep analysis on the character of your choice.

Your job:

You will be assigned a character from the play. You and your partner(s) will prepare a short 5 minute presentation about that character. Your job is essentially to explain how he/she fits into the play. To help you do this, I’ve provide a series of questions you can pose. Your analysis should cover (but does not need to be limited to) the following:

  • What is directly told to the audience about the character’s personality from the text.
  • What can the audience indirectly infer about the character’s personality from the text
  • Is the character likable?
  • Does the character undergo any change from the start to the end of the story? Why or why not?
  • Pick a line of dialogue either said by the character or about them that best sums them up. Justify your choice.
  • Does this character feel ‘real’?
  • What does this character want?
  • How well written in the character? Are there any moments where their behavior seems inauthentic?
  • If you were to cast this part, who would play the role and why?

Here’s the 2 big mistakes that people make when doing this assignment.

  1. They flip through the play and hunt for the scenes where their character appears, completely ignoring scenes where they are not in but are being talked about by others. You learn just as much from secondary sources as first.
  2. They ignore or call ‘random’ any dialogue that does not seem to push the plot forward or directly answer questions. Violet does not tell her show story for no reason.

Dates:

PERIOD C

Prepare – April 24 and 26

Present – April 28

PERIOD E

Prepare – April 25 and 27

Present – May 1

 

Here are the characters. In parenthesis are the maximum number of people who can work on them.

 

Period C

1. Violet (3) – Wil, Ibrahim and Coulton
2. Beverly (3) – Dan, Marissa and Sarah
3. Mattie Fay (3) – Emma, Tyler and Jazz
4. Barbara (3) – Gwen, Taylor and Victoria
5. Ivy (3) – Ailish, Leah and Abby
6. Bill (3) – Tim, Cam and Ben
7. Jean (2) – Andrew and Simone
8. Charles (2)
9. Little Charles (2)
10. Johnna (2) – Isabelle and Bethany

 

Period E

1. Violet (3) – Sarah and Ashley
2. Beverly (3)  – Ella, Stephie and Ruxandra
3. Mattie Fay (3) –
4. Barbara (3) Holly, Max and Fiona
5. Ivy (3) – Lake, Sophie and Chloe
6. Bill (3) – Will, Owen and Simon
7. Jean (2) – Val and Sofie H.
8. Charles (2) –
9. Little Charles (2) – Jack and Davis
10. Johnna (2) – Molly and Anna
Jack and David
Molly and Anna
Val
Kai
Questions:


First Play Writing Prompt

Hi Gang,

Today we did a couple of exciting things.

First we went over a list of basic tips on writing classical theater. For many of the other theater styles we observed (Modernist, Absurdist, etc) these rules go out the window but for most theater these rules apply.

After reading them, we did a writing prompt to put them into practice.

PROMPT:

STEP 1 to 3 on a loose sheet of paper. 

Step One:

Invent two characters. Give them names and a few distinct personality traits. What is the relationship/history of these two characters?

Step Two:

Pick a location for these two characters to inhabit

Step Three:

Come up with an event that is coming up soon in the lives of these characters

AT THIS POINT YOU WILL EXCHANGE  YOUR PAPER WITH SOMEBODY ELSE

Step Four:

Write the opening of a play using the information provided by the sheet you are handed. Try to give us all this information as indirectly as possible.


Writer’s Craft Day 4: The Play is the Thing

Today we’re going to explore different play writing styles. Try to pick a favourite because you’re going to try to recreate it next class.

 

Style:    Classical Expressionist and Classical Naturalist

To this day, these styles represent the majority of most theater. Both styles are seen in Classical Theater, where the play brings the audience into a real life situation.  Cause and effect are central to the script’s structure, with the subjects focused on conflicts of “nature vs. nurture”, the natural order of things, survival, notions of evolution. However, we must still accept certainly central conceits such as coincidence, fortuitous timing and moralizing. Their only difference comes in staging. A expressionist production using minimalist props and sets, which a naturalist production tries to make the stage look as real as possible.

 

The Crucible – Naturalist

Image result for the crucible stage

The Crucible – Expressionist

Image result for the crucible stage

Hamlet – Naturalist

Image result for hamlet stage

Hamlet – Expressionist

Image result for hamlet stage high park

Death of a Salesman – Naturalist

Image result for death of a salesman set

Death of a Salesman – Expressionist

Image result for death of a salesman stage

 

 

Style:   Realism

Portraying characters on stage that are close to real life, with realistic settings and staging. Realism is an effort to satisfy all the theatrical conventions necessary to the production, but to do so in a way that seems to be “normal” life.

Examples of a realist playwright: David Mamet

Mamet’s style of writing dialogue, marked by a cynical, street-smart edge, precisely crafted for effect, is so distinctive that it has come to be called Mamet speak. He often uses italics and quotation marks to highlight particular words and to draw attention to his characters’ frequent manipulation and deceitful use of language. His characters frequently interrupt one another, their sentences trail off unfinished, and their dialogue overlaps.

Style:   Modernism

A broad concept that sees art, including theater, as detached from life in a pure way and able to reflect on life critically. 

Example of modernist playwright: Tom Stoppard

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead was Stoppard’s first major play to gain recognition. The story of Hamlet, as told from the viewpoint of two courtiers explore existential themes and language play. “Stoppardian” became a term describing works using wit and comedy while addressing philosophical concepts. Critic Dennis Kennedy notes “It established several characteristics of Stoppard’s dramaturgy: his word-playing intellectuality, audacious, paradoxical, and self-conscious theatricality, and preference for reworking pre-existing narratives.”

Image may contain: one or more people and people on stage

Style:   Postmodernism

There are multiple meanings, and meaning is what you create, not what is. This approach often uses other media and breaks accepted conventions and practices

Example of postmodernist playwright: David Ives

David Ives’ most celebrated work of modernism is his collection of one-act plays called ‘All in the Timing’.  The short plays are almost all comedies, focusing mainly on language and wordplay, exploring perspectives on life and meaning, and the complications involved in romantic relationships. High-school and college students frequently perform the plays, often due to their brevity and undemanding staging.

Style:     Epic Theater/Absurdism

This style of theater forces audience members to constantly return to rational observation, rather that emotional immersion. Sudden bursts of song, elements of absurdity and breaches of the fourth wall are all prime examples of how this rational observation is constantly revitalized.

1st Example of absurdist playwright:  Bertolt Brecht

Brecht wanted his audiences to adopt a critical perspective in order to recognize social injustice and exploitation and to be moved to go forth from the theater and effect change in the world outside. For this purpose, Brecht employed the use of techniques that remind the spectator that the play is a representation of realisty and not reality itself. By highlighting the constructed nature of the theatrical event, Brecht hoped to communicate that the audience’s reality was equally constructed and, as such, was changeable.

2nd Example of expressionist/absurdist playwright:  Samuel Beckett

Irish born playwright Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. Godot’s absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play’s 1953 premiere. It was voted “the most significant English language play of the 20th century”.