Mary Ruth Clarke - The Scene's The Thing: Compelling Scene Workshop and Contest

  • January 30, 2020
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka IL


Registration is closed

Whether you are writing a play, screenplay, teleplay, or adapting a novel or memoir into one of these dramatic forms, riveting scenes are the key to a gripping story that’s intended to be performed by actors. 

This workshop will do a deep dive into scene work. Members are invited to submit a scene ahead of time to be entered into the Compelling Scene Contest. Mary Ruth Clarke will select the most compelling submissions to be read by professional actors at the workshop (great prize, right?).

The workshop will begin with a brief overview of what elements make for great scene work, and then we’ll jump right into the actors reading the winning scenes, followed by a discussion and Q&A with the instructor and the professional actors (much can be gleaned from their perspective on how they approach scene work).

You may submit your manuscript just for the contest, or you may submit it for the contest and written critique at $3 per page. Please see manuscript guidelines on our website:  for details and specify contest only or contest and critique on your manuscript.

Submission criteria:      

Comedy, Drama, Dramedy
Plays, Screenplays, Teleplays
Aim for no more than 3 characters (but no worries if there are more)
Maximum 6 pages, less is better

Don’t fret the formatting – that’s another worry for another session

This workshop is for playwrights, screenwriters, teleplay writers, as well as novelists and memoirists.

Mary Ruth Clarke co-wrote and starred in the original Meet the Parents and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro. Her play Bonhoeffer’s Cost  has been produced at The Agape Actors Co-op in Austin, Texas, Philadelphia's Beacon Theater, and the Provision Theater in Chicago.  Agape also produced her farce Suffer The Long Night, co-written with her “Meet The Parents" partner, Greg Gliennaas did the Meta Theater in LA.

Her play Address Unknown was produced in Chicago by 20% Theater Company, and Fury Theater; her solo performance, I Could Kill Him For Dying, ran at Three Cat Productions in Chicago, and her musical, Fay Burns! had a 28 Hour Workshop and two staged readings at Chicago Dramatists, where she is a Resident Playwright and heads up the screenwriting and television classes. 

Recent Saturday Series staged readings include Alice and Celia and Whatever It Takes, a comedy screenplay, directed by Second City’s Pat McKenna, and her play Right In Front of Us.

Mary Ruth is a screenplay consultant for clients in LA and Chicago, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where she heads up the screenwriting program, and teaches screenwriting at Story Studio.  She lectures regularly at the Chicago Screenwriter’s Network, and has presented workshops for the Off Campus Writer’s Group, the Chicago Independent Film Project, and Renaissance Theaterworks Milwaukee. She is a member of the Writer’s Guide of America East and the Dramatists Guild.

Mary Ruth will accept Comedy, Drama, Dramedy, Plays, Screenplays, and  Teleplays up to 6 pages for critique. Please see manuscript guidelines on the website:

9-9:30 Registration and Socializing 

9:30-12 Program 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software