THE FENG SHUI OF REWRITING
The Feng Shui of Rewriting with John Walch
The French call it “élan vital”, the Romans called it “vital spark,” smoothie makers in Berkley call it “raw fuel”, hipsters in Brooklyn call it “Red Bull”, Chinese philosophers call it “Qi”…translating roughly to mean vital energy of which everything is composed. Whatever you call it, plays, especially early drafts, are filled with vitality or Qi.
In rewriting your play, the goal is to build on those furious first sparks, to understand what your Qi is, and to maximize the flow of Qi throughout your play, without snuffing out the impulses behind the initial creation. But how? A once tortured rewriter shares how he came to approach rewriting in a totally non-Aristotelian, non-denominational, non sequitur, and no-nonsense way. In this workshop, writers are introduced to three basic principles of Feng Shui and are invited to apply them to a specific piece they are rewriting. Writers should come with a play (or really anything) they want to reorganize and rewrite. The more resistance, the better. Bring whatever you write with, as we’ll do some light stretching exercises. And if you don’t have anything to rewrite, but have a closet or desk drawer to reorganize, what the heck, come anyway.
John Walch is a former Artistic Director of ScriptWorks and currently runs the MFA Playwriting program at the University of Arkansas. His plays have been produced at theaters such as Center Theatre Group (Mark Taper Forum), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Barter Theatre, Theatre @ Boston Court, Kitchen Dog, Florida Studio Theatre, New Jersey Rep, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Off-Broadway at Urban Stages. His work has been developed or commissioned through The Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Bricolage Theatre, New Harmony Project, The Playwrights' Center/PlayLabs, and the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London.