From Page to Stage,
with Leaf Seligman

Saturday, October 17, 2019

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This program is free and open to the public. No registration required. 

Thayer Memorial Library, 717 Main Street, Lancaster, Massachusetts

Please note that due to covid-19, this program WILL be online.


For any writer (regardless of preferred genre) there’s value in moving words from the two-dimensional page to the three-dimensional stage or conversely from stage to page because each medium asks and offers something different and instructive. The luxury of extensive narration and sensory detail that fiction and nonfiction afford must find other avenues of expression in a play. For fiction and nonfiction writers, thinking in pictures (as a filmmaker/screenwriter does) invites us to cultivate the lushness of sensory detail. If we were to imagine dramatizing an emotional beat within a story/novel for the stage, how would we distill that moment into movement (three-dimensionality)?For playwrights (or screenwriters) how might we convey information imparted through embodied or literal action into pure prose (narration or lyric evocation)?

In this two-hour workshop, we will play with (no pun intended) translating a scene or even a moment back and forth from page to stage (or beginning with stage, translating into page).To begin, I will  briefly share the process of my own attempt to translate one of the stories in my book, From the Midway: Unfolding Stories of Redemption and Belonging into a play and discuss briefly how I would translate a five-minute play into a short story. The bulk of the workshop will be devoted to participants experimenting with this kind of translation from page to stage or vice-versa, with time afterwards to glean what we’ve learned from the process.Participants are encouraged to bring a scene from a story or play to work with. Poets and memoirists or other nonfiction writers are welcome as well. Any writing for the page can benefit from being reimagined for the stage just as a play can be reimagined as prose or poetry.

Leaf Seligman is the author of three books published by Bauhan Publishing, and her first full-length play was produced on the MainStage at the Johnson Theatre at University of New Hampshire many moons ago. Leaf continues to work with fiction and drama and has taught writing for almost thirty years. Her current project of transforming a story into a play instructs her.