Decentered Playwriting: Alternative Techniques for the Stage



Call for Chapter Proposal:

Decentered Playwriting: Alternative Techniques for the Stage

Forthcoming by Routledge Press

Co-Editors: Carolyn Dunn, PhD; Eric Micha Holmes, MFA; Les Hunter, PhD

Theatre is the place which best allows me to figure out how the world works.

—Suzan-Lori Parks

Theater artists in all parts of our industry are questioning with a renewed intensity not only the ways we write plays but how we teach playwriting. The murder of George Floyd, coupled with a global pandemic, the devastating effects of climate change, continuing environmental injustices again Indigenous peoples and landscapes, and growing nativist movements across the US revealed how theatre and theatre educational institutions are failing the demand for new approaches. For example, most US college playwriting classes still focus on traditional “closed,” white, male-centric, Aristotelian dramatic structures and techniques. And when only one in five plays read in US introductory playwriting classes is written by a female and/or Black, Indigenous, Asian, Arab, Latinx, Hispanic playwright  (“Contemporary Playwriting Pedagogies” in Teaching Critical Performance Theory), it begs the questions: 

  • What other storytelling techniques, arising from various narrative traditions, practices, rituals, and movements, can be introduced to playwriting students?
  • How does this global moment of racial reckoning cause us to reframe dramatic writing with a sense of play, freedom, opportunity, and abundance?
  • What non-Eurocentric structures can help deepen our writing practices
  • In what ways can pedagogical methods be reimagined?
  • How do playwrights as both writers and educators unlearn their own implicit biases?
  • How can the craft of playwriting become a more inclusive practice?
  • How might we move beyond Aristotle’s predominance in the classroom? 
  • Is it possible to utilize playwriting practices from other cultures without appropriating them?
  • How might the classroom be a space to create a more diverse and inclusive pipeline of new voices, practices, theories, and techniques for creating dramatic work?
  • How do we study, teach, and produce texts that recover and/or support underrepresented narratological practices?
  • How might we use pedagogical techniques to redress systemic bias?
  • What kinds of playwriting techniques might we turn to in order to fully re-present a fuller spectrum of humanity and storytelling?

Decentered Playwriting is a collection of short essays and exercises by teaching artists, playwrights, dramaturgs, and academics in the fields of playwriting and dramaturgy that investigates these questions and more. This textbook explores new and alternative strategies for dramatic writing that incorporate non-Western, Indigenous, and other underrepresented storytelling traditions, theories, and techniques.

Details/Logistics for Submissions:

We are seeking an array of proposals from a great diversity of playwriting techniques and backgrounds. We are particularly interested in proposals that are craft-forward and come from underrepresented voices in playwriting curriculum. We have a strong interest in increasing a larger global representation of playwriting techniques including but not limited to those arising out of Asian, African, the Caribbean, Indigenous, South American, Middle Eastern, and European traditions and strategies. We strongly encourage proposals from Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latinx, Hispanic and LGBTQIA+ contributors.

Interested authors should send a 300-600 word abstract proposal including a short playwriting exercise based on the technique explored, and a 100-200 word bio. Please send all work to decenteringplaywriting@gmail.com. Only previously unpublished work will be considered.

Deadline for Submissions: December 1, 2021.

 Posted by Dospel & GanjaParker