Jean-Claude van Itallie and the Off-Broadway Theater by Gene Plunka

"I just wanted to follow-up and tell you how much I gained from the Writing on Your Feet workshop this summer. A week or so afterwards, I realized that I had experienced in you an authentic meditative approach to life and process. I felt that I had absorbed a slowing down that is crucial for my daily practice as a woman, mother, partner, theatre maker and teacher. And I have since incorporated the slow earth walks into my week and have passed it along to others as well. My four-year old daughter loves it ! I was amazed by her concentration!

2016 Workshop Schedule

Tea with Demons - a creativity workshop in New York City with Jean-Claude van Itallie, Saturday, April 2, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Theater for the New City, 155 1st Ave

Tea with Demons - A workshop with Jean-Claude van Itallie at Shantigar
August 12 – 14

Acting and Being ~ A creativity workshop with Jean-Claude van Itallie

September 25 at 1 PM - 7 PM

La MaMa-Great Jones rehearsal studios, 47 Great Jones St, New York

Moving Body, Source of Creation, A Continuum Movement Approach with Elaine Colandrea and Jean-Claude van Itallie at Shantigar
October 7 – 9

For more information on Jean-Claude's workshops: email@shantigar.org

Jean-Claude van Itallie, playwright and longtime Tibetan Buddhist meditator, is an inspired teacher.

He creates a safe, disciplined and supportive environment in which he teaches his unique way of creativity, using movement and meditation of different kinds and the performance of experiential stories and dreams.

Everyone is welcome to take van Itallie’s workshops.

"Stepping from Air into Water"
"...started to read with a playwright's eye, especially after participating in an extraordinary class taught at Princeton by Jean-Claude van Itallie, himself a highly original playwright. The class was an undergraduate class in playwriting, which meant the nine of us wrote every week, dramatizing interactions from our lives, tiny scenes, baby steps, and we read them aloud and talked about what we were trying to accomplish with the writing and acting. Some of the students in the class were already accomplished actors and writers, and some had directed plays. After teaching law for more than a decade, to be in this class was a true and enlightening educational experience, a stepping from air into water.After that class, and then another one, I wrote a couple of plays which it took me some time to realize were not very good plays, and that was useful because it bounced me right back into fiction where I was at home.

The class only met once a week, but I thought about it a lot in between the meetings. I could not have gone to a similar course in beginning fiction writing. The most important thing about the class was that it disarmed me, and put me back into that part of my brain where imaginative work could begin.This gifted teacher created a protective place where art could happen, and I was able to write fiction again. And, as a side benefit, I had a new and life-long interest and appreciation for the art of the playwright and the complicated time-structured beauty of the art of the theater."
Leigh Buchanan Bienen in Triquarterly Review, issue 134 (2009)

"Jean-Claude is the only playwriting teacher I ever had." Tony Kushner

"I take Jean-Claude's workshops because they're fun." Kathy Benners  

"Heard about it originally from friend, Eliz Mailer, have taken many workshops with JC, this time reminded by JC I met on street in NYC. Particularly liked generosity of spirit, interplay of external/internal. JC is giant spirit guide and seer who enables us to go where we need to go." Katherine Adisman

Playwright Jean-Claude van Itallie teaches self-expression centered in the body and the moment. Theater, he says, is all about "the vividness of now." Novelist Suzi Wizowaty attends his workshop called "Writing on Your Feet."

Center yourself in your physical body. It’s less tricky than the mind,” says Jean-Claude van Itallie.

We have gathered in a loose circle inside a large, screened tent in the middle of the woods, because we can no longer use the beautiful barn that used to be up the road. Six of us have come here to Shantigar, the retreat center developed by van Itallie in Rowe, Massachusetts, to attend his workshop, called “Writing on Your Feet.”

Jean-Claude jumps in without preliminaries. He does not care for discursive chatter. When I had asked him earlier whether the workshop would include time at the end to reflect on the experience, he said, “No. I hate that."

Click here
to read the article in it's entirety.

l though, I still have not arrived at a daily practice of dropping in and working on my piece, I feel the workshop supports my intention in a powerful way. I am teaming up with a couple of fellow artists who are also writing performance pieces and hope that we can inspire one another to continue creating. Anyone would greatly benefit from your work. For writers in particular, to learn a body approach, is invaluable." Krista Smith, artistic director, Visible Theatre

2021©  Jean-Claude van Itallie—All rights reserved