Deconstructing The American West (Spring 2021)

05/19/2021 - 06/30/2021




  • $299.00  -  General
  • $249.00  -  New Student




Sessions: 7 Wednesdays
Session Dates: May 19, 26
June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Session Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm Central Time


Deconstructing The American West (Spring 2021)

May 19 - Jun. 30
6:00pm - 9:00pm Central Time

Instructor: Ean Miles Kessler

“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer” -- D.H. Lawrence

This course strips the John Wayne veneer off the American West, to expose the dark history (and the stories) that lie at its root. Students will generate new work centering on the American West, exploring ways to subvert common held notions and tropes, by looking through the lens of race, gender, sexuality and more. Each class, students will have their new pages read aloud and workshopped, to receive constructive criticism within a safe space. Time will be allotted to discussing ideas, scenes, and full plays, and writing exercises and prompts will be used to spur creativity. We’ll look at raising the stakes of your work; how to drive the plot forward; the iconography intrinsic to the American West, and how to bring those elements to the stage in theatrical and vibrant ways. We’ll also examine the role that violence plays in a piece, and how to use it effectively to force your character forward. This course culminates in a Zoom presentation of student work, open to the public, with professional actors.

Ean Miles Kessler is a Rutgers, BFA Acting graduate, where he studied at Shakespeare’s Globe in England under esteemed director and Tony nominee Tim Carroll. While at the Globe, Ean performed the title role of Hamlet on the Globe Stage. As a playwright, his work has been produced nationally and internationally. Off-Off Broadway Playwriting credits: Brotherly Love; King’s River; The Bcam; Beautiful Hands (Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival Semi-Finalist); Devil Lay Me Down (world premiere, Theater for the New City), among others. Publications include: Brotherly Love (“Shorter, Faster, Funnier,” by Vintage Books); Funny Valentine (“Plays for Two,” by Vintage Books).

Ean is a graduate of the Playwriting Development Program (class of 2020), headed by Sheri Wilner. Two of Ean’s plays (​​Mountain Kings​​ and ​Frankie Moon’s Long Gone​) have been workshopped at the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis. Ean’s work has been workshopped and developed by ​Naked Angels Theater Company​, Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday Series, Actors & Writers, among others. Ean’s play ​Frankie Moon’s Long Gone was named as a finalist for the 2020 Carlo Annoni Prize in Italy, and is currently a semi-finalist for ​Landing Theatre Company’s​ 2021 New American Voices Playwriting Festival. Most recently he was a guest artist at PACE University in NYC, where Frankie Moon was taught as a part of the Playwriting curriculum.

As a theater educator, Ean was the Department Head of Theater at Conchita Espinosa Academy, in Miami Florida, during which time he was the founding Artistic Director of Blessed Unrest, CEA’s resident youth Shakespeare company. Currently, Ean is the Network and Education Director at Chicago Dramatists, where he also hosts The Sound & The Journey Podcast. Ean has been a​ ​proud ​Dramatist Guild Member since 2012.

20% Early Bird Registration Discount Available when students register by March 31, 2021

Classes will be held via Zoom. Instructors will send out Zoom invites one day before class begins. We encourage students to set up a Zoom account for themselves before class if they have not already to ensure when class begins you are able to jump straight into the art!

Sessions/Weekday 7 Wednesdays
Session Dates

May 19, 26
June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Time 6:00pm - 9:00pm Central Time

This course is ideal for writers at every level, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

This course culminates in a Zoom presentation of student work, open to the public, with professional actors.