Meet a Grubbie: Stephanie K Brownell
GrubStreet runs on coffee, printer ink, and community. This series features just some of the Grubbies who make our community strong. In this edition, meet Grub instructor Stephanie K Brownell. Stephanie has taught at Boston University, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, The Eliot School, and the Urbano Project. She is a member of Artists' Theatre of Boston, Company One's 2017 PlayLab, and the Dramatists Guild of America. Stephanie has been a Kennedy Center Fellow at the National Playwrights Conference, a student of New York Theatre Intensives with Ensemble Studio Theatre, and an Assistante de Langue in Angouleme, France. Stephanie will be teaching Teen Mini Camp: 3 Days, 3 Genres from July 5th to July 7th.
What's your favorite writing prompt?
I really enjoy collaborative writing. I feel like if you're in a room full of writers and you're not capitalizing on each others' presence... well, that's too bad. As a playwright, I have a lot of collaborative prompts, but my favorite is one I call "Cups." The most basic version of it is this: Each participant takes five slips of paper and writes down two characters, two wants, and a setting (one on each paper). Then we mix up the papers (in cups!) and each writer draws two characters, two wants, and a setting. Then we write. The specifics of this exercise are flexible, but the idea is to get you writing things you might not normally think of as your style. If one of your characters happens to be a pet parrot and your setting is a ski lodge, then you really have to get creative.
How do you beat a bout of writer's block?
What's your teaching philosophy?
What are you reading?
When do you feel most like a writer?
Weirdest, or worst job you ever had?
Most interesting hobby?
What is the strangest place you've ever been?
Strange feels a bit loaded, but there's a little town in France called Trôo in the middle of the Loire Valley that is made up largely of troglodytic homes dating from the 11th century, some of which you can visit, but many of which are still occupied. They have awesome little chimneys that stick up from the hill like you might imagine a Hobbit hole would. For a lifelong Lord of the Rings devotee, that was pretty awesome. They also have a singing well, a petrifying cave, and a little overlook inside a maze with an incredible view. Also in France, Nantes hosts the Machines de l'Ile where you can take a ride on a life-sized mechanized elephant. And I did.
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