The brutality of fiction: A Plan in playwriting and sculpture

Plan Author

  • Logan Smith, 2012

Fields of Concentration

  • Theater
  • Sculpture

Sample Courses

  • Tutorial: Pursuing Portraiture
  • Tutorial: Art Design Pre-Production
  • Tutorial: Script to Stage: Playwriting

Project Description

A study of playwriting, production and scene design focusing on themes of intimacy and violence, and a visual art exploration of methods of characterization.

Faculty Sponsors

  • Brenda Foley
  • Tim Segar

Outside Evaluator

  • Ain Gordon, playwright


Intimacy and violence are the emotional foundations of drama. Across cultures, our most enduring stories are built around the complex ways people care for and hurt one another. Writers and dramatists layer these emotions onto the characters they craft, weaving them into narratives that engage audiences. Through a series of plays and sculptures, this Plan explores how themes of intimacy and violence define characters and create narrative.

In The Writer and His Time, a struggling writer named Garry has a surprise visit from a stranger and tries desperately to develop their new relationship into a narrative. The second play, The McDonald’s, presents the breakdown of a marriage over several brief scenes, illustrating how minor annoyances and careless cruelty slowly destroy intimacy.

Just Passing Through begins with a man mourning at the site of his wife’s fatal car crash. He is visited by a starnger who claims to be the personification of Death – but as the characters get to know each other, the stranger’s identity becomes less clear. The plays are complemented by a sculpture exhibit, which explores methods of characterization through visual media.


Garry: Oh, my god…oh, my god, he’s dead. Oh, my god, he died. Oh, my god… This is great! Amby, you extraordinarily ordinary person, you…you’ve finally managed to stir up some surprise! And this story of ours, finally, has a twist!”

(From The Writer and His Time)

Everett: Do you know how sometimes, as you’re traveling, you’ll sometimes see a spot on the side of the road where people have brought a lot of candles, and pictures, and flowers and things?

Death: Oh, like for when someone’s died there?

Everett: Yeah, like for when someone’s died there.

Death: Well, sure, you see ‘em all the time.

Everett: unceremoniously tosses the bouquet at the tree

Death: Oh…Is this spot one of those spots?

Everett: Yeah.”

(From Just Passing Through)


In writing my Plan, I was interested in what constitutes a drama—in particular, I was drawn to the idea that violence (whether physical or emotional) was necessary to a compelling plot. The ethical questions which followed from this insight were the inspiration for my plays.