During the fall semester of 2013, guest fellow Ignacio Garcia May, from Spain, taught a Taft Research Seminar on the techniques of writing for the theater. The seminar was supported by Andres Perez-Simon, Assistant Professor of Spanish, who acted as convener, and Patricia O'Connor, Emerita Professor of Spanish, who was available in an advisory capacity.
During the first sessions of the seminar, Prof. Garcia May provided the basic rules of playwriting:
Playwriting’s specificity as opposed to any other form of writing. Dramatic text as a voluntarily unfinished and problematic text.
Different kinds of dramatic structures, plots and subplots
Real time vs. stage time; the triggering incident; dramatic progression.
The world in a nutshell: unlimited-but-limited spaces of drama.
Language of drama: dialogues, monologues, didascalia (stage direction).
Defining characters: agon (in ancient Greek: conflict, combat, dispute) as foundation of relationship.
Reality is not always believable: plausibility vs. truth.
Mechanics of comedy.
Mechanics of tragedy.
Then, under the guidance of professors Perez-Simon and Garcia May, the students developed their own original short plays using the information received. The finished plays were read and discussed in class. Although none of the students had previous experience in playwriting, all the resulting short plays were worthy, and some of them were first class and deserve to be published. It was considered a good idea to create a digital repository that could be maintained as a dynamic file of dramatic texts, where future writers (and even well-established playwrights in Spanish language) could publish their own plays. In addition to original creations, translations of plays done by UC students—undergraduate or graduate—could also be published in this archive. Finally, the repository contains the videos of two lectures delivered by prof. Garcia May in October and November 2013, available for free download.
The creation of this repository was overseen by Arlene Johnson, Associate Senior Librarian & Digital Humanities Strategist, and Nathan Tallman, Assistant Librarian & Digital Content Strategist, in collaboration with prof. Perez-Simon. This is a project of interdisciplinary nature and global scope, two pillars of the UC2019 Strategic Plan.