Saturday, March 28, 2009

SWAN Prompt

No matter how many playwriting workshops I facilitate, I just never get over the thrill of a group of writers sitting around a table, pen on paper, scribbling a soulful whisper onto the page.  The second part of the SWAN Day afternoon saw scenes being written from the Promptor exercise.

There were seven prompts:
1.  a place
2.  an action
3.  anything to do with a swan
4.  a secret
5.  a Chinese phrase (or an English phrase if you are writing in Chinese)
6.  the first line of dialogue
7.  the last line of dialogue

Each person chooses a prompt which is not their own; these random elements are to prompt and guide the scene to be written.

The participants will post their scenes in the SWAN Day reports.  Here, I post my SWAN scene (after basking in artist Lucy Zhou's awesome teaching glow):

A:  Who are you?
B:  School
A:  What are you drinking?
B:  The students
A:  How can you drink the students?
B:  They are like water...with no form...flowing anywhere...if not contained.
(B drinks.)
A:  Hey
B:  gurgle
A:  Hey hey!
B:  gurgle gurgle
B:  gurgle gurgle gulp
A:  I'm, I'm a--
B:   gurgle
A:  Stop drinking me!
B:  AHHH!  (wipes mouth)  Get hold of yourself, then.
(A flaps wings like a swan--white feathers flutter everywhere.)
B:  I'm still thirsty.
A:  Don't drink me.  I must save myself...for myself.
(B accidentally catches a feather in its thirsty mouth, starts to feel uncomfortable.)
A:  I must, you know who I am, I must--
B:  cough cough
A:  I must--
B:  cough cough cough
A:  I must tell you something.
A:  Are you OK?
B:  (COUGH)  No! (COUGH.)
(A slaps B's back.  School coughs out a white feather).
B:  (ahem, ahem, kuh, kuh)
A:  Better?
B:  Sorry.  You were saying (pause).  You were going to tell me something.
A:  (Chinese)  Wo bao ta  (I hold her).
B:  Huh?
A:  I kiss her, too.
B:  Ah?
A:  And that is why I am like water.
B:  That is why when I drink you, I cough.  You are not for me to drink.
A:  That is correct.  You are school.  You are dry.  You should not suck out the liquid, the blood, the love out of the students.
B:  They leak out their own treasures.
A:  I hold mine.
B:  They know not what to keep.
A:  And so you should teach them, and not just drink them.
B:  To be or not to be.  That is a question.

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