University of Calgary

Clem Martini

  • Professor

Biography

Professor Clem Martini is an award winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter with over thirty plays, and ten books of fiction and nonfiction to his credit, including the Calgary Book Award-winning Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness and his most recent anthology, Martini With A Twist. His texts on playwriting, The Blunt Playwright, and The Greek Playwright, are employed in universities and colleges across the country. He is currently the Chair of the Division of Drama in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.

Teaching

I teach undergraduate and graduate playwriting, and in the instruction of these courses there are several core ideas I maintain.

I believe in transparency. 

In playwriting, there are no secrets. Everything one needs to know about playwriting and storytelling is exposed to plain view.  One of the best and most useful things an individual can do to learn about playwriting is to read broadly and deeply.

I believe there are no rules.

There exists a large body of advice regarding the writing of plays. It has an ancient and distinguished lineage, dating back at least as far as ancient Greek Civilization. In the end, however, there are no rules and no policing body to enforce them, even if there were.

I believe there are no short cuts.

There’s nothing quick about writing. Writing is a life long wrestle. Sometimes you are on top. Sometimes it is.

The upside is this - if it were only a wrestle, eventually you would tire. After all, how long can anyone wrestle? But luckily, writing is a paradox as well. Though you draw from it, it gives something back. The longer you work, the harder you work, the truer you work, the more it has to return.

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