Associate Professor of Playwriting Erik Ramsey (contact through the form below) teaches in the MFA Playwriting Program at Ohio University. His plays have been produced around the country, and Samuel French and Dramatic Publishing have published several of his works. His recent play, LIONS LOST has been developed at numerous regional theaters including Cleveland Public Theatre, American Stage, Victory Gardens, and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. Currently, he is writing a trilogy of historical dramas about the surprising turn of events that boosted Joseph Smith from life as a small time con-artist to Prophet of the Mormon Church; the first in the series, titled SMITH UNEARTHED, has been developed at the International Society of Contemporary Literature and Theatre Conference (Estonia: 2007), the Gwen Frostic National Reading Series at Western Michigan University (2008), Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble (2009) and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theater (2011). His two textbooks, The Art of Theatre: Then and Now and The Art of Theatre: A Concise Introduction are are in use at over 100 colleges and universities nationwide (third edition, 2013). In 2007, Erik was named a Kennedy Center Faculty Fellow for his work as a new play development specialist; in 2010, he was appointed as Director of Innovation for WordBRIDGE Playwrights’ Laboratory after many years of new play development research; as a new play dramaturg he has worked in a variety of venues, most recently Steppenwolf Theater Company’s First Look Series, 2013. Over the past decade he has been a guest artist and taught master classes in playwriting, new play development and narrative theory in a variety of national and international venues, most recently at the University of Tulsa (2013), the St. Petersburg Academy of Dramatic Arts “New American Plays” Conference (St. Petersburg, Russia: 2011), and Lubimovka Playwrights Laboratory at Teatr.doc in Moscow, Russia in 2010.
The goal of plotwrench.org is to track scientific advances across a variety of disciplines and ask how those advances might be used to improve our understanding and execution of narrative craftsmanship. For instance, as the central communication device in all genres of storytelling, plot has developed over thousands of human generations. The basic system of plot in the western tradition has calcified into a remarkably stalwart backbone for diverse genres from from plays and epic poems to films, long-form journalism, and even most “Funny or Die” sketches. However, though toddlers seem to naturally become storytellers, writers at all levels often struggle to execute plot in a way that supports their artistic vision or comminicatory intent. After thousands of years of generating plot, we still don’t know why plot works the way it does! At plotwrench.org, the mission is to bring the rapidly developing sciences of human interaction, neuroscience, mathematics, and computer science to bear as tools for better understanding how narrative works, how it can be manipulated, and how it can best be exploited in service to the voice and vision of the author.
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