Charts Charts Charts: Visualizing the Creation of New Work

19 Jul

Over here at PwritesCom, we’re thinking a lot these days about the various modes of creation for new work — especially in advance of the Freedom Art Retreat. On one side of the spectrum of creation techniques there’s the single generative artist (playwright, or auteur director) who assembles to themselves a set of collaborators and sub-creators to bring the work to fruition. On the other end, we have totally ensemble devised works in which all participants, from actor to designer, have equal standing in the direction the work takes.  I recently stumbled upon a useful set of charts which help to visualize the differences.

…Click images to embiggen ’em…

First, I’ve long been a fan of the way Austin’s Rude Mechs conceives of its ensemble creation process. It’s one where members wear the very definite hats of Playwright, Director, Actor, Dramaturg, Designer, etc, but only at certain points. There’s a malleability in the structure of creation which I find inspiring. This is the diagram they used to explain the jobs of ensemble members in the creation of The Method Gun. This image originally appeated in issue number 4 of Play: A Journal of Plays, published by Paper Theatre.

Rude Mechs creation process for THE METHOD GUN, published in Paper Theatre's "Play: A Journal of Plays" #4.

The following images and descriptions (all by Ming Chen) were originally published in the article “Polyphonic Dynamics as Educational Practice” by Ming Chen, Ivan Pulinkala, and Karen Robinson: Theatre Topics, Volume 20, number 2, Sept 2010 (if you have a access to the Project Muse database through a university or public library, the original article can be found here.)

1. This diagram demonstrates the traditional linear trajectory of the creative process:

This diagram demonstrates the traditional linear trajectory of the creative process. (Source: Ming Chen)

(Post continues after the jump…)

2. In contrast with figure 1, this diagram emphasizes the simultaneity of the collective creation process.

In contrast with figure 1, this diagram emphasizes the simultaneity of the collective creation process. (Source: Ming Chen.)

3. This diagram shows the hierarchical structure seen in traditional production processes.

This diagram shows the hierarchical structure seen in traditional production processes. (Source: Ming Chen.)

4. In contrast with figure 3, this diagram illustrates a collective approach to the creative process that encourages every team member to contribute as a co-creator.

 In contrast with figure 3, this diagram illustrates a collective approach to the creative process that encourages every team member to contribute as a co-creator.

5. This diagram shows a traditional approach to theatre-making in which each artist is consigned to his/her sphere of disciplinary control.

This diagram shows a traditional approach to theatre-making in which each artist is consigned to his/her sphere of disciplinary control. (Source: Ming Chen.)

6. In contrast with the disciplinary rigidity shown in figure 5, this diagram illustrates a process that encourages team members to cross disciplinary boundaries and seek solutions outside their areas of expertise.

In contrast with the disciplinary rigidity shown in figure 5, this diagram illustrates a process that encourages team members to cross disciplinary boundaries and seek solutions outside their areas of expertise. (Source: Ming Chen.)

7. This diagram identifies a written script as the blueprint and point of departure for a theatrical production.

This diagram identifies a written script as the blueprint and point of departure for a theatrical production. (Source: Ming Chen.)

8. Different from figure 7, this diagram indicates that the impetus for performance/production choices can be drawn from multiple “texts.” Different from figure 7, this diagram indicates that the impetus for performance/production choices can be drawn from multiple "texts." (Source: Ming Chen.)

Finally, here’s a bonus chart. The Period Table of Storytelling, by computersherpa and hosted on deviantArt.com.  Go forth and create.

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2 Responses to “Charts Charts Charts: Visualizing the Creation of New Work”

  1. Steve Bogart July 19, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Hi All,

    I develop new plays all the time with esembles from simple starting places. I hope I can share a process some time with you.

  2. pwritescor July 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    I’d love to hear more! Does your style generally fit one of the above? What role/s do you play?

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