WHAT IS DRAMATURGY?
In one word: fluid. What I do changes drastically from production to production based on what is needed, but always with the common theme of interrogating the subject matter. Overall, I would say that I have three key roles.
The first is as a researcher and script analyst. It is my job to know the facts of the script and the facts behind it – the creative history, the context of the setting, the structure, and beyond. If as an actor, I was trained to break down a single character’s life story, as a dramaturg I take that step back to objectively look at the web of relationships and secrets that exists.
The second is to identify the challenge of the script. For me, the most rewarding projects to work on are those where something must be earned off of the page, where something extreme is written and as artists, we must create a performance that justifies this to the audience. I extract and create a logical path so that if the curtain falls on a radical political statement, the audience can understand why.
This brings me to my final role: to be a mediator for the audience. It is very easy for anyone in the rehearsal room to get swept up in their own expertise and knowledge of the play. I try to find the lines within that knowledge. What can we expect the average audience member to know? What needs to be clarified? Where is the boundary between common and specialised knowledge? It is my job to work with the director to ensure the audience understands the play, no matter how abstract the performance or esoteric the subject matter.