1st Edition

Embodied Playwriting Improv and Acting Exercises for Writing and Devising

Edited By Hillary Haft Bucs, Charissa Menefee Copyright 2023
    304 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    304 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Embodied Playwriting: Improv and Acting Exercises for Writing and Devising is the first book to compile new and adapted exercises for teaching playwriting in the classroom, workshop, or studio through the lens of acting and improvisation.

    The book provides access to the innovative practices developed by seasoned playwriting teachers from around the world who are also actors, improv performers, and theatre directors. Borrowing from the embodied art of acting and the inventive practice of improvisation, the exercises in this book will engage readers in performance-based methods that lead to the creation of fully imagined characters, dynamic relationships, and vivid drama. Step-by-step guidelines for exercises, as well as application and coaching advice, will support successful lesson planning and classroom implementation for playwriting students at all levels, as well as individual study. Readers will also benefit from curation by editors who have experience with high-impact educational practices and are advocates for the use of varied teaching strategies to increase accessibility, inclusion, skill-building, and student success.

    Embodied Playwriting offers a wealth of material for teachers and students of playwriting courses, as well as playwrights who look forward to experimenting with dynamic, embodied writing practices.

    Part 1: Creating Characters

    1. The Meet and Greet: Creating Opportunities for Surprise and Discovery

    Charissa Menefee

    2. Improvising Between the Lines: Enhancing the Script by Embodying Subtext

    Amy Seham

    3. Using Improv to Create Original Plays: Respectfully Writing Diverse Characters

    Stephanie Rae

    4. Character’s Search for Authenticity: Improvisation for the Revision Process

    Muneeb ur Rehman

    Part 2: Body and Mind

    5. The Picture Project: Originating Story through Movement

    Sarah Kozinn

    6. Physical Expressions in Devised Playwriting

    Luane Davis Haggerty and Aaron Kelstone

    7. Active Group Playwriting: Psychodramatic Techniques Adapted for Playmaking

    David Kaye

    Part 3: Playing Games

    8. Building the World of the Play Through Collaborative Performance

    Mike Poblete

    9. It’s All About Play: Locating the Game in Embodied Playwriting

    John P. Bray

    10. Folkgames as Creative Stimulus for Devising: The Case of Chaskele

    Solomon Y. Dartey

    Part 4: Changemaking

    11. ‘Laughter that shatters’: Improv Techniques for Social Justice Comedy Playwriting

    Elspeth Tilley

    12. Writing for Change: Guiding Activist Playwrights in Classrooms and Communities

    Dana Edell

    13. Community-Based Play Creation

    Hope McIntyre

    14. Writing Climate Justice: Personal Storytelling and Source Material Devising as Embodied Methodology

    Joan Lipkin and Kasey Lynch

    Part 5: Curated Exercises

    15. Embodied Playwriting Exercises for Classroom, Workshop, and Studio: Skill-Building and Content Generation

    Edited and Curated by Hillary Haft Bucs and Charissa Menefee, Exercises by Alexis Lygoumenos, Gabrielle Sinclair Compton, Ramón Esquivel, Jeanne Leep, Wesley Broulik, Rachel Lynett, Dennis Schebetta, Steve Kaliski, Meredith Melville, Elizabeth Hess, and Tiffany Antone 

    16. Embodied Playwriting Exercises for Classroom, Workshop, and Studio: The Revision Process

    Edited and Curated by Hillary Haft Bucs and Charissa Menefee, Exercises by Matt Fotis, Ramón Esquivel, Sage Tokach, and Tiffany Antone


    Hillary Haft Bucs is a Professor of Theatre at Western New England University, where she teaches Playwriting, Acting, and Improvisational Comedy. With Valerie Clayman Pye, she co-edited Objectives, Obstacles, and Tactics in Practice: Perspectives on Activating the Actor (Routledge 2020).

    Charissa Menefee is a playwright and poet, the Artistic Director of The EcoTheatre Lab, and a Professor of English and Theatre at Iowa State University, where she co-directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment.