Pataphysics Playwriting Workshops

The Pataphysics Playwriting Workshops at The Flea Theater are intimate, four-session intensives for new work and new ways of working.

Pataphysics 2015

The Depth of Surfaces: Generative Writing/Directing

Dates: June 20/21 and June 27/28
Times: 10am-1pm
Price: $325
Deadline to apply: May 18

Writer/director Tina Satter and Half Straddle performer/director/writer collaborator Jess Barbagallo lead writing, performance, and directorial exercises and techniques that will be used to generate new performance writing out of the workshop—and that can be applied to infuse projects already in process.

Applicants should submit a C.V., short statement on what youíve been doing as an art maker and what you want to do next, and one short writing sample (it just needs to be at least two pages).

E-mail your application materials to

Tina Satter is a Brooklyn-based writer and director who makes plays, performances, and videos. She is Artistic Director of the Obie Award-winning theater company Half Straddle founded in 2008 and a 2014 Doris Duke Impact Award recipient. Her most recent show, Ancient Lives, premiered at The Kitchen in New York City in January 2015. Her show House of Dance opened in 2013 commissioned by Richard Maxwellís New York City Players. Seagull (Thinking of you) premiered at PS122ís 2013 COIL Festival. In addition to upcoming theater commissions (with Soho Rep and New York Live Arts), Tina is co-writing and directing a web series, loosely based on her theater company. Tina is currently visiting playwright and teacher at University of Michigan, and has been a guest artist at Princeton University, Reed College, and Fordham University. She attended Mac Wellmanís graduate playwriting program at Brooklyn College. Her first collection of plays, Seagull (Thinking of you), was published by 53rd State Press in 2014.

Jess Barbagallo is a performer and writer. Favorite collaborative partners: Tina Satter/Half Straddle, Big Dance Theater, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf/Dyke Division of 2HC, the Builders Association, The Drunkardís Wife, Andrea Geyer, Casey Llewellyn and Katherine Brook. Jess has written the plays Joe Ranonoís Yuletide Log and Other Fruitcakes, Grey-Eyed Dogs, I’ll Meet You in Tijuana, Saturn Nights, Men’s Creative Writing Group, Good Year for Hunters and Great Romance, and is responsible for the ongoing comedy Without Me Iím Something. Jess was a 2009-10 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab Member, 2011-12 Queer Arts Mentorship Fellow, 2012-13 BAX Artist-in-Residence, and a 2013 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and is a 2014-15 New York Live Arts Context Notes Writer-in-Residence. Their words have been published in The Brooklyn Rail, BOMB Blog, The Poetry Project Newsletter, by 53rd State Press and at, a review site for gay and lesbian Netflix. Jess has taught courses at New York University and Brooklyn College, and curates for Little Theater at Dixon Place. Additionally, Jess organized the evening WHY I MAKE LIVE ART (WHEN IíM NOT MAKING THE OTHERS) at the Invisible Dog Art Center in 2012. MFA: Brooklyn College.

About Pataphysics

New Work and New Ways of Working

The Pataphysics Playwriting Workshops at The Flea Theater are intimate, four-session intensives for new work and new ways of working. Named for Alfred Jarry’s science of imaginary solutions, the workshops are a gymnasium for the writing brain—curious, particular, and rigorous. Students enter with blank sheets of paper, and leave with pages of notes, fragments, scenes, even entire plays unlike anything they would have written on their own.

Led by Master Playwrights

The Pataphysics workshops are led by master playwrights who are known not only for a distinct and groundbreaking body of work, but also for their ability as teachers. Each workshop, led by a master playwright pursuing his or her own train of thought, is geared to generate new material and new ideas through writing experiments, readings, and interesting talk. Master playwrights have included: Lee Breuer, Erik Ehn, Karen Finley, Maria Irene Fornes, Jeff Jones, Eduardo Machado, Chuck Mee, Paula Vogel, and Mac Wellman.

Workshop Structure

The workshops are structured around the idea that whatever is most immediately interesting to a teacher will make for the most engaging class. They’re an opportunity for writers, emerging and experienced, to challenge their own assumptions using strange muscles and surprising parts of the brain.

Each workshop meets four times over two consecutive weekends at The Flea. Class size is limited to thirteen and admission is by application. The Flea Theater runs these workshops at cost. Grants from The Flea Theater and private donations provide a limited number of scholarships for those who would not otherwise be able to attend.

Pataphysics is quite simply the best class I’ve ever taught. Why? Because everyone in the room knows why they’re there and comes highly motivated. That cuts through the bull. It lets us work as peers.
—Jeffrey M. Jones

Stay Informed

To receive notification of upcoming classes, add your name and e-mail address to the Pataphysics mailing list by e-mailing us here. When a class is scheduled we will inform you 2 months ahead of the date.

About Our Participants

Pataphysics workshops are for both developing and experienced writers of any age or aesthetic inclination. Pataphysics students have been produced or developed by, and have received awards from: Humana, The Public Theater, The Flea, Princess Grace Award, Little Theater, SOHO Rep, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Manhattan Theater Club, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, Lucille Lortel Playwrighting Fellowship, Printer’s Devil, Horla Theater (London), BRIC Studios, New Dramatists, NYFA, Whitfield Award, Portland Center Stage, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, HERE, Playwrights Horizons, LaMama, The Cherry Lane Alternative, Annex Theater, Dixon Place, Empty Space Theater, McArthur Foundation Award, The Ontological, Ensemble Studio Theater.