The Primary task for a dramaturg is to aid the artistic director in creating a long-ranging artistic vision and plan for their theatre and then implement short-range action to accomplish that goal… The dramaturg supervises the commissioning of new plays, cultivating relationships with the playwrights; and rereads the classics, searching for those works that make deep cultural connections. The Dramaturg takes the lead in season planning helping to select plays that fulfill the theatre’s commitment to its artists and its overall vision. Dramatugs work with directors to challenge fixed notions about new plays or classics being considered for staging. When possible, the dramaturg assists in picking the artistic team for each production…. [and] also serves as a resource and active collaborator during the planning stages of a production and throughout the rehearsal period. The production dramaturg is optimally that artist who functions in a multifaceted manner helping the director and other artists to interpret and shape the sociological, textual, acting, directing and design values. (Bly, xxii-xxiii)
Bly goes on to explain about dramaturgical work in text preparation, production casebooks and actor packets, and the necessity of attending rehearsals and previews so that, “The dramaturg will know the source of the creative choices. This will inspire ‘doable’ note or staging solutions and not merely obvious diagnostic commentary.” He then goes on to sum up his task during the rehearsal process into to words, “I question…I strive to be a supportive but questioning force, never an ‘echo’” (Bly xxiv).
(“HAIR” Actor: Paris Remillard)
This semester I will be the dramaturg for Sharron Pollock’s “Blood Relations,” directed by Keegan Bushey. “Blood Relations” is a play about Lizzie Borden and the events surrounding the murder of her parents. The playwright poses the question, “If you were in her place, what would you have done?“ This is an exciting opportunity for me because I was a part of the Play Selection Committee last year and was able to voice my love for this play. I presented the faculty with a list of things that could be done for this production with research and publicity. I was excited to hear that the play had been chosen for the season, and that I would be involved in the show. “Blood Relations“ is this year‘s Student Honors Production. Students submit resumes, go through an interview process and are selected to be lighting, set, and costume designers, directors, dramaturgs. Our crew is made up of students as well. It is essentially our first steps, with our mentors beside us to catch us if we start to stumble. I had the pleasure of working with a fine group of peers for last year’s Honors Production, and I am excited to work with the brilliant minds of this year. We do have some Faculty designers involved this year, which makes the experience even more interesting, learning from those who have had many years of experience.
Next Step, Auditions.
See you there.
Bly, Mark. The Production Noteboks, Theatre In Process. New York, NY: Theatre Communicaions Grop, Inc., 1996. Print.