The Padua approach to the writing of plays, cultivated collectively in writing workshops, involves training rigorously in the formal aspects of the playwright’s craft, and then neutralizing the conceptual mind in favor of a more open awareness in which listening constitutes the fundamental act. Padua workshops are run more like painting studios than like typical MFA-style writing workshops. Rather than simply discussing texts written elsewhere, the students actively compose new work. It is an essentially poetic approach that aims to deliver a higher grade of transformative capacity by reaching down past the discursive mind to that burnished, high energy space where the true voices live. It’s as if the play already exists and the playwright’s job is to hear it. Well, that’s not quite right better, perhaps, to say that the playwright is creating the text in a highly charged dance with him or herself, “following,” as Mednick likes to say, “where you lead.” The mind is trained to hear not only the words but the spaces between the words, so that by the time they hit the page they bring the power of their own silence along for the ride. Whether we call this power “the unconscious,” or whether we locate it in the elemental forces of nature or in the heavens, this process restores the theater to its place as the locus of transformative human encounters.

Beneath the Dusty Trees – The Gary Plays
Fever Dreams: Recent Work From Padua
Plays for a New Millennium
Hipsters in Distress: Are You Lookin’? and Other Plays
Plays from the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival
Three Plays by Murray Mednick
The Coyote Cycle
Best of the West

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