At the Dramatists’ Playground in Greensboro last weekend, we created a play called Camelot Club where Arthur is an African-American ball-boy who beats the tennis pro, inheriting his job; Morgan LeFay, whose family founded the club, works her dark magic through her Twitter followers (and her old money); Guinevere’s a nouveau riches naïf who wants to learn to, um, swing; and Lancelot is a visiting tennis player longing to return to the pro circuit after recovering from an injury. He says he just wants to be wherever the best tennis is being played and hence is drawn to Arthur’s court–but the truth, as Morgan quickly surmises, is that he needs a sponsor, someone with money…
Our day began with a few hours of improv games, the point being to exercise those muscles that help us collaborate creatively. As a newcomer I was surprised to be asked to “facilitate” one of the teams during the actual afternoon playmaking, but the 10-minute play that resulted was not a bad first draft. My intention in participating in the first place was partly to loosen up; as a writer I tend to be pretty tightly wired, wanting every word just so, which I think can end up leaving good ideas on the table (especially when I have the luxury of other people to work with, as in this case). So I played coach, playwright, and director in more or less that order, and sure enough everybody contributed unexpected depth of characterization, one-liners, narrative twists. Still, the result was rapidly hardening into a “normal” script, so much so that I actually wrote it down when I got home.
One of the other short plays that day, however, developed under the facilitation of Stephen Hyers, made great use of improvisation right into and including the performance while still keeping its storyline perfectly intact. I aspire to that.
You can read our script by clicking on its title above to download a PDF file.
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