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Marfa Live Arts playwright to conduct workshop at high school

April 20th, 2017 under Arts
Classes began Monday, April 17th with Escobar, who currently lives in New York City and is originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Classes began Monday, April 17th with Escobar, who currently lives in New York City and is originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

MARFA — This week in collaboration with Marfa ISD, Marfa Live Arts’ playwright in residence Georgina Escobar is teaching the 6th annual Playwriting Workshop at Marfa High School.

Classes began Monday, April 17th with Escobar, who currently lives in New York City and is originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

She is leading students through creative writing exercises during English classes, guiding students to develop characters and plots, while pulling from their memories and life experiences. The weeklong workshop will result in each student writing their own unique and original one-act play.

In the six years of the workshop over 500 student plays have been written since 2011. Previous Marfa Live Arts playwrights in residence include Octavio Solis, Liz Castillo, and Raul Garza.

Escobar brings her unique storytelling and graphic novel style of dramatic writing to the program. She says, “I equip students with their writer’s toolkit. In other words, I show them what places they can draw inspiration from, how to build a cohesive story, what experiments can be done to form, how to visualize and create third dimensional characters and the magic of the editing process. I use dreams as inspiration, news, folklore, family stories, images and music. And I intend to bombard all the senses so that the students may open their artistic hearts toward constant creation as expression.”

The Playwriting Workshop has been recognized by school administration and educators as an effective way to improve students writing skills while developing their critical thinking and building self-confidence. Escobar expands on this idea “They [students] can expect discipline, and a high element of imaginative thinking. I love mythos, the fantastical, the surreal and the dreamscape on the stage… I will encourage and drive them to the writing of impossible narratives that challenge our way of thinking about the world—for only in the creation of impossible logic, may we find a sense of plausible reason.”

One day of the workshop will be co-taught by actor/puppeteer Mindy Leanse. Leanse will work with the students on creating puppets to help tell their stories using recycled materials. Breathing life to inanimate objects by means of object manipulation creates a healthy distance between the subject of the writing and the object. It allows for the writer mind to free itself of judgment in seeking to tell a story purely based on character and situational drama. Puppetry dictate character traits without the use of words and injects a physical interpretation that can appeal to many different audiences.

Escobar and Leanse will also serve as judges in reviewing the student plays. Nearly 100 finished plays will be in consideration for final selection for a staged performance at the Crowley Theater during the 6th Annual One-Act Plays on Tuesday, May 2nd. One play from each grade will be selected and winners will be given prizes and their names  announced next week at a school assembly. Marfa Live Arts also held an art contest at MISD for this year’s poster. The winning artist’s work will be unveiled on the poster early next week.

The Annual Playwriting Workshop has become a cornerstone of Marfa Live Arts’ education program.  “When students are given the creative tools to reach and expand, they end up searching deep within, finding their authentic voice, which is a powerful resource that can serve them all their lives,” says Marfa Live Arts’ Director and the playwriting program’s founder Jennie Lyn Hamilton. This year the program is supported by the Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, Kirkpatrick Family Fund, and Marfa Education Foundation with in-kind support from Michael McGuire.

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