cover image Moment Work: Tectonic Theater Project’s Process of Devising Theater

Moment Work: Tectonic Theater Project’s Process of Devising Theater

Moisés Kaufman, Barbara Pitts McAdams, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, Kelli Simpkins, Jimmy Maize, and Scott Barrow. Vintage, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-101-97177-2

The theatrical potential of ordinary ideas is unleashed in this engrossing step-by-step guide to using “Moment Work”—creating plays based on moments in time—to “tell stories that move us.” Kaufman and McAdams, members of the Tectonic Theater Project (which produced the play The Laramie Project), offer practical techniques for creating new plays and bringing surprises to the performance of existing ones. They erase such traditional titles as director, actor, and playwright, giving everyone in the rehearsal room the power to discover “aha” moments; they then organize those moments into narrative sequences and create a finished piece. A feather boa becomes a breathing bird, a row of chairs becomes a fence, and the tyranny of text is overthrown so “all the other elements of the stage can fulfill their own narrative potential.” Examples from the development of actual plays, including the Pulitzer- and Tony Award–winning I Am My Own Wife, bring each exercise to life, showing that “with a little passion, a little folly, and a little nerve, anyone can do this work.” Theater makers will delight in this useful and inspiring toolkit for creating high-impact plays. (Apr.)