Welcome back to Bright Future Ahead, the blog series where I, Matti Mali aka HedonisticActor, chronicle my attempts to become highly educated. In the previous blog I talked about the entry requirements of Finalndâ€™s biggest theater school Theater Academy of Helsinkiâ€™s acting course so this time I talk about the writing course. To be accurate itâ€™s more about dramaturgy that is about the ways of making your text to work on stage. So far I have tried to it only once in 2013.
Like with every course the dramaturgy studies last for three years, five if I aim for the Master degree later which I will. The main professor is Katariina Numminen who has done some stuff in theater that I havenâ€™t seen but she directed something called Coconut Disco that I have to see just based on the title. Her Wikipedia page was rather short but worth of mentioning is her involvement with the acclaimed theater group The Research Institute of Reality that â€œobserves and questions realityâ€ (What exactly is the point of questioning existence, doesnâ€™t it make making art moot?). Other teachers are accomplished writers whose works I havenâ€™t read.
The application progress consists of four phases but unlike with the acting course there isnâ€™t a secret fifth phase, at least to my knowledge. The first one contains three written tasks, deadline at January 27th, and those accepted get to go to the second phase at late May which I didnâ€™t manage to achieve. Unlike with the acting course the first phase doesnâ€™t dwell into false sense of security, the tasks are difficult from the very start. At least there are only three of them so the work load is manageable.
- Write a short play that has more than one scene. Maximum length 12 pages.
I consider this one easy as it gives free hands do anything and you can get some decent plot and character development in 12 pages (for example Moonyâ€™s Kid Donâ€™t Cry by Tennessee Williams). However I admit that I was rather lazy the last time I applied to this course. Due to the vague nature of the task itâ€™s tempting to use some previously written texts found from the drawer and re-use them especially if the deadline is tight. In my case it was a short family drama I wrote for a drama education course and I bet it didnâ€™t fool the judges one bit. I guess the success is more probable if I use a new text written just for this application.
- Choose from your own life three important events that are somehow connected. Describe in prose the events you chose without any dialogue. One page of length.
Have I already told how much I hate tasks like this? The fact is that I have lived a rather sheltered life. There havenâ€™t been any major ups or downs, no grand achievements â€“ heck, Iâ€™ve never even had a proper, regularly paid job â€“ or shattering tragedies unless you count getting diabetes as one which it really isnâ€™t. Iâ€™ve never even been in a situation where Iâ€™d have to call either the fire department or the police. How do they expect me to not only come up with three interesting events from a life more uneventful than Out of Africa and Driving Miss Daisy combined but also make some artificial connection between them? Actually the situation isnâ€™t as hopeless as I made it out to be for the sake of dramedy. After all Iâ€™ve done more than fifteen years of acting and while I havenâ€™t received any main stream recognition I guess Iâ€™ve gotten some life lessons out of it.
- Read Georg BÃ¼chnerâ€™s play Woyzeck. Define the point of view that you are using in studying the play. What do you think is the playâ€™s theme? What in it speaks to you personally? Write at maximum one page text about these questions. At beginning introduce the point of view you have chosen. Give the text a title.
Waitâ€¦ I have read this unfinished abstract play about a soldier put through various dubious medical experiments as it was analyzed at a dramaturgy course held in Workerâ€™s Academy like a month agoâ€¦ just like Hamlet that was required to be read for the acting courseâ€™s monologue taskâ€¦ there are too many coincidences for it to be less than fate! Yes! This clearly a sign from higher powers! I am destined to succeed! This shall be the beginning of THE ERA OF MATTI!
*crickets are making sounds*
Seriously speaking that analysis does bring a bonus problem as it may be harder after that to form my own unaffected interpretation. To complicate things further we even watched the Werner Herzog directed movie version from the seventies (differences were one cut character and several scenes arranged in different order). Iâ€™ll probably focus on pondering how much the main character is a mere victim.
I consider myself to be better at writing fiction than fact so tasks two and three worry me. At least they are kept short so I donâ€™t have to come to a situation where I add unnecessary information just for pandering the text. In any case for the next blog I may take a look at the directing course even though Iâ€™m not really interested to apply there. I may also look up for the tasks of entirely different career paths because for many of the art schools I try to apply to the entry requirements wonâ€™t be revealed until early spring. Until my next blog thanks for your time.