Faculty Performance Production: Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl (DRA4308.01) (title and description updated as of 7/19/2022 )

Shawtane Bowen

In the overwhelming quiet of the woods, six runaways from city life embark on a silent retreat. As these strangers confront internal demons both profound and absurd, their vows of silence collide with the achingly human need to connect. Filled with awkward and insightful humor, SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS is a unique and compassionate play that asks how we address life’s biggest questions when words fail us. This 2016 Critics’ Pick (The New York Times, New York Magazine, Time Out New York) was written by Drama Desk Award winner BESS WOHL (Pretty Filthy).

“Though it employs very little dialogue, there’s nothing quiet about SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS. Bess Wohl’s luminous play uses silence to dig into the core of human pain, which, like everything unendurable, can also be very funny…The play asks—and admirably never quite answers—deep questions about how we connect with other people, a feat that the characters achieve through channels both profound and silly. Wohl isn’t afraid to let the ridiculous rub up against the sublime, and it makes SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS as entertaining as it is transcendent.” —Time Out (New York).

Bess Wohl’s plays have been produced or developed at theaters in New York and around the country. In 2015, Bess won the Sam Norkin special Drama Desk Award for “establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater, and having a breakthrough year.” Other awards and honors include the Athena Award for her screenplay, VIRGINIA, a MacDowell Fellowship, and inclusion on Hollywood’s Black List of Best Screenplays. She is an associate artist with The Civilians, an alumna of Ars Nova’s Play Group, and the recipient of new play commissions from Manhattan Theatre Club, Hartford Stage and Lincoln Center.

She also writes screenplays and has developed multiple original television projects for HBO, ABC, USA, FOX, Disney, Paramount and others. In her previous life as an actress, she appeared onstage in New York and regionally, and in numerous films and TV shows where she has given birth, solved crimes, committed crimes, been wrongly accused, and come back from the dead.


Learning Outcomes:
•How to collaborate with others in an ensemble setting
•The discipline and work ethic necessary to succeed in the professional theater
•How to build a role and successfully create a 3 dimensional human being vis-à-vis the rehearsal process
•How to work under pressure with tight deadlines
•Research, text analysis, and scene study


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: BY AUDITION ONLY. Students should prepare two contrasting monologues not to exceed three minutes total. Both monologues should be contemporary: one comedic, one dramatic. Students should be fully MEMORIZED and off-book. Drama auditions will be held the first week of the term.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/T/W/Th/F 7:00PM-10:00PM; Sat 12:00PM-4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 7
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: All courses , Drama , Updates , Fully In-Person
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