“What is water?” asked the professor.
“Life-giving,” answered one student.
“Refreshing,” added another. “And purifying. But you can also drown in it.”
And so, the playwriting class’s discussion of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Water by the Spoonful was off and running.
At issue for Professor Ben Marshall and his students: What makes the script work? And why?
Marshall should know. His play, Incident at Willow Creek, won the 2018 Stanley Drama Award. Given by Wagner College since 1957 to up-and-coming playwrights, the award has recognized the likes of Terrence McNally, Lonne Elder III, and Jonathan Larson (for Rent).
“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great, having a Stanley winner teaching our playwriting course?’” recalled theater department chair Felicia Ruff. “Ben, who’s an English professor at Middlesex County College, is on sabbatical this semester, and he said yes.”
The nine student playwrights enrolled in Marshall’s class will produce 10-minute scripts for submission to a new project, The Originals, which will be produced in April in Wagner’s Stage One theater.