"Writing War:" Seminar and Creative Writing Workshop

From Jan 10 to 12, 2013, the British playwright, theatre director and university docent, Dr. Julia Pascal taught a seminar and creative writing workshop on the topic of “Writing War”.

Julia Pascal discussed scenes from her play The Dybbuk and Theresa, working with both the DVDs and with the texts and talked about her work from Holocaust history.  

Her stage plays include Theresa, based on the true story of a Jewish woman on Guernsey during the German occupation in the Second World War and A Dead Woman on Holiday, which is set in the Nuremberg Trials. The Dybbuk premiered in London at the New End Theatre, Hampstead in 1992. Published in "The Holocaust Trilogy", The Dybbuk had its New York premiere in August 2010. "The Wedding Party" (known as "Bloody Wedding") was premiered at The Ohrid Festival 2012, Macedonia.

After the creative writing workshop, Julia asked our students to write down their experiences:

“I’ve really enjoyed the workshop. I’ve learned to take a story, any story and play with it, experiment. I’ve learned how to express complexity through simplicity, as well as use language in different ways in the play: express emotional language through body language or displacement or fracture of the mind through language. Moreover, I enjoyed talking about music and how it breaks boundaries.”

Jelena Opricic

“I learned the importance of group work, of saying things out loud and letting go free associations; not being scared of possible writing topics that appear ‘larger than life’. Thank you!”

Sasa Ilic

"I was really impressed with the way ‘acting out’ scenes can help to shape characters and solve problems which arise with plot lines. Furthermore, the ‘English-mother-tongue-gibberish’-game (despite being unusual at first) was a great experience, since it helped discover emotions which are normally covered within a ‘layer of conscience’ which the use of (a second) language brings about."

Christian Feser

"I have learned that sometimes it’s better to start in the middle rather than at the beginning."

Mareike Spychala

“The workshop has been extremely communicative, collaborative in nature since all the participants and their potential creative ideas have added depth and complexity to my understanding and creative process. Julia has wonderfully suggested her expert and scholarly ideas to the ones I had in my mind without instructing anything. Thus making her scholarly visions very flexible and worth following.”

Abdullah Al Mamun

“I particularly enjoyed working in a group, seeing how much other people’s thoughts and ideas can help us and influence our work. It was great to see how an expert works in terms of free association, bringing out and using personal memories to shape a character.”

Claudia Marin

"It’s important to work not on your own, because when you share your ideas with others and listen to their ideas somehow you will find what you were looking for… I enjoyed this workshop very much!"

Mariana Oleksiienko

"All of my fellow students have interesting stories to tell and we are all authors of our own story. I have learned how to express feelings, thoughts and emotions in a way that (independent of culture) everyone is capable of understanding."

Ellen Merzinger