Phantasmagoria: Lessons in Collaboration Open Access

McCreary, Max (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/2801pg36g?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract

Phantasmagoria: Lessons in Collaboration

By Max McCreary

This paper chronicles the attempt of student playwright, Max McCreary, to work with a team of collaborators on a full production of his playscript, Phantasmagoria. The document includes the script of Phantasmagoria as it was publictly performed, followed by a collection of chapters detailing the significant lessons McCreary learned by bringing the script to an audience. As a student playwright, McCreary had learned and practiced translating the world in his head onto the page. The goal of this project was to learn what it takes to lift the story off of the page and into the real world in order to create a fully realized piece of theater, rather than an unproduced script, thereby going beyond the traditional boundaries of an undergraduate experience.

 

The script, like Frankenstein, is a ghost story that revitalizes Mary Shelley’s memory by asking if she has the capability to be both great and good. The revelation of her stepsister’s pregnancy, the looming ghost of her half-sister, and an innate desire to protect the ones she loves challenge Mary’s ability to uphold this commandment. Throughout the play McCreary weaves together historical fact, intentional historical inaccuracies, and his own invention in order to help modern audiences re-consider Mary Shelley, a legendary character, as a young woman faced with challenges and decisions.

 

McCreary ends by illuminating the most vital lessons as a playwright with which he leaves this experience. He elucidates how working with a close team of collaborators influenced specific lines or moments in the play. In the conclusion of the paper, McCreary acknowledges that despite a strong production, the script was not yet ready for a full collaborative process and he would recommend a one week long workshop to continue to nuance the thematic purpose of each anachronism and push the structure and form of the script farther towards the surreal.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents Intro to Phantasmagoria 

Preface .................................................................... 1

Dramaturgical Note ................................................ 3

Phantasmagoria 

Scene 1 ................................................................ 6

Scene 2 ................................................................ 8

Scene 3 ................................................................ 20

Scene 4 ................................................................ 27

Scene 5 ................................................................ 49

Scene 6 ................................................................ 58

Scene 7 ................................................................ 68

Scene 8 ................................................................ 75

Lessons in Playwriting 

Lesson 1: My First Collaborators Were Books ............... 94

Lesson 2: Balancing History ......................................... 101

Lesson 3: Writing Pragmatically ................................... 108

Lesson 4: The Strength of Voices That Were Not Mine . 113

Lesson 5: Moving Forward ............................................ 123

Annotated Bibliography ............................................. 125 

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