Students learn the art of the monologue with Marfa Live Arts

MARFA — Marfa Live Arts’ fifth annual Playwriting Preparatory workshop is currently in progress at Marfa Junior High. This week, all seventh- and eighth-grade students are working on developing monologues under the guidance of Marfa Live Arts Director Jennie Lyn Hamilton.

The workshop will culminate with 10 students’ works being performed by professional actors at next Thursday’s virtual Magic and Monologues showcase, which will include a special performance by Mexican magician, Mago Krypto.

The workshop, which was enacted by Marfa Live Arts with the encouragement of former Marfa Independent School District Superintendent Andrew Peters in 2015, has served to prepare Marfa students for Marfa Live Arts’ annual Playwriting Program by guiding students through a three-part series consisting of relaxation techniques, observation exercises and a writing studio.

“The program is designed to get students to a place where they feel relaxed, inspired and ready to write. It was developed to help students process difficult emotions as well as to access and express their deepest hopes and dreams,” Hamilton said of the program. She added that since the inception of the Playwriting Prep workshop, students that have gone on to participate in the High School Playwriting Program show a newfound enthusiasm and a better sense of the writing process. “The students definitely are more prepared and have a higher level of self-confidence in their writing ability and in their ability to access their inner voice.”

The relaxation techniques portion of the workshop, Hamilton explained, consists of helping the students relax through breath work and body movement techniques designed to release stress and tension. As a result of a relaxed mind and body, students can better focus on their writing and on unlocking new doors to ideas and creativity.

The observation exercises section of the program, she continued, is designed to assist the students in finding their inner voice utilizing their five senses and, as Hamilton explained, “get them out of their analytical mind.”

The final part of the workshop, the writing studio, gets the student to put pen to paper through prompts and other assignments. The writing studio gives students the freedom and opportunity to create a body of work that is unique to them and to share this work with others.

“Everything they write is from their own world, their own families and their own imaginations,” Hamilton said. “We start with monologues because it teaches dramatic form and character study. The kids learn about back story, conflict and problem-solving. These are all things that will help with their papers throughout their education, no matter what the subject. Writing well and being able to express oneself are skills that serve everyone.” Students whose work is presented will also be awarded prizes.

A selection of the works will be performed by actors at the Magic and Monologues Showcase via Zoom next week, Thursday, December 17, at 7 p.m. The community is invited to attend. Visit and follow the Zoom link for free registration and tickets.