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Upending Expectations: Utilizing the Reversal in Playwriting

Class Info

Instructors: Victor Lesniewski
Class Date: Mondays, 10pm - 1am Eastern; March 11 - May 20 (Please note there will be no class on March 18)
Maximum Students: 10

AST: 11pm-2am
EST: 10pm-1am 
CST: 9pm-12am
MST: 8pm-11pm 
PST: 7pm-10pm
AKST: 6pm-9pm
HST: 5pm-8pm


Class Summary

Setting expectations and then upending them is a useful tool for building narrative momentum and keeping your audience engaged.

In this writing workshop, led by playwright Victor Lesniewski, students will analyze and practice reversals. We will discuss the differences (and similarities) between comedy and drama and center the concept of reversal in a way that takes into account both character development and play structure. Through assigned readings, at-home writing, and in-class sharing and discussion, students will work toward a better understanding of how and why this concept can add depth and dynamism to their work.


Class Requirements

This workshop will be best for those students looking to enhance their craft in general and explore new characters or story ideas. It is not for students who wish to workshop an existing play. If students would like to use the same characters throughout in order to generate material for a new play, this is acceptable, but exercises will be exploratory and not directed toward building a first draft of a play. Students are also welcome to explore completely different characters and ideas across exercises. Although not a requirement, it is useful if students have written at least a play or two before, in order to have an understanding of what goes into narrative development. Understanding of basic dramaturgical terminology (conflict, obstacles, stakes, etc.) is also helpful.


Class Expectations

Students are expected to come to every session, to give and receive empathetic feedback, and to participate in in-class discussions and at-home exercises (which include writing as well as reading assignments).


Class Outcome

Students will have honed a new tool for their toolbox and will have greater confidence in their ability to think ahead in their plotting when working on new scripts.


  • Refunds

    The Dramatists Guild does not provide refunds; however, it is possible to receive credit towards a future course instead. Please email for more information.

    Unfortunately, DG is unable to offer financial aid at this time.

  • Financial Aid

    Unfortunately, at this time financial aid is not available.

  • Instructors and Community

    The faculty at the Dramatists Guild is comprised of some of the country’s leading playwrights, songwriters, educators, and industry professionals. Please be aware that instructors are subject to change prior to the start of the semester. In the unlikely event that such a change does occur, all DG students will be notified as soon as possible.

    The Dramatists Guild endeavors to create a safe space in which all students feel encouraged to participate as freely and confidently as possible. Although we generally try to group students by skill level, writers from a variety of backgrounds will inevitably be in class together. Students are expected to be inclusive, communicative, and welcoming to one another, regardless of previous writing experience.

    All students should arrive on time to class, disengage from electronic media (other than the Zoom platform upon which the class is taking place), and remain present for the entire class period. Please note that the Guild is unable to record any courses. If you are unable to attend a class, it is your responsibility to contact your instructor, in advance of your planned absence, in order to coordinate a sufficient make-up strategy.

  • Class Sizes

    Unless otherwise noted, all foundation classes have a maximum of 14-15 students and all writing workshops (including specialty writing workshops) have a maximum of 10 students. 

    The number of students in each course is limited in order to ensure that every participant has a meaningful classroom experience.

  • Contact Us

    Feel free to email us at, or call the Guild office at (212) 398-9366.