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Saturday, October 20, 2001

On the weekends of November 3 and 17, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will present a free writers’ workshop, “Using Art to Inspire Playwriting,” in which aspiring playwrights will create original playlets based on the sculpture of Juan Muñoz.

A retrospective honoring this late Spanish artist, on view from Oct. 18 to Jan. 16 at the Hirshhorn, Independence Ave. at Seventh St. S.W., features cast-resin figures in stage-like environments and other works rife with narrative possibilities.

“The workshop probes the relationship between art and drama in the work of an artist who understands such cross-currents,” says Hirshhorn educator Teresia Bush, who developed the project. After studying Muñoz’s ensembles, she continues, “participants respond by crafting words and scenarios and then have the opportunity to see the fruits of their labor come to life.”

Part I, to take place Saturday, Nov. 3, 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m., is conducted by two well-known leaders in local theater circles: Jennifer Nelson, artistic director of the African Continuum Theater, and Karen Zacarias, artistic director of the Young Playwrights’ Theater. It consists of an exhibition tour, an introduction to playwriting, and the first formulations of individual works.

The free workshop is open to all writers. Preregistration is required; to enroll, please call 202-357-3235, ext. 117.

Part II, to which the public is invited, marks the completion of the playlets in two sessions on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17 and 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Some authors will read their works, while others will watch as they are collaboratively performed by actors from one of Washington’s most vital community-based companies, the GALA Hispanic Theater.

The Muñoz exhibition and the entire Hirshhorn are open free seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). The nearest Metrorail stop is L’Enfant Plaza, Maryland Ave. exit. 

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