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“WHAT IS IT YOU DO?”

April 1, 2011

How many times have you had to answer the question “What is it you do?”  As a Dramaturg I have to answer this question all the time.

In the United States, the Dramaturg’s role is still a mystery to most.  We do a great deal! Collaborate in season planning, reading/evaluating new script submissions, choosing translations for production, writing program notes, generating revised scripts, actor packets, talk-backs, etc; and collaborating in new play development.  You’ll always see a Dramaturg writing furiously while one eye is on the stage and the other on the script.  You can’t just watch a show anymore; you dissect, image by image. You analyze, evaluate, and develop.

Only once have I come across someone who knew what a Dramaturg does.  He works in theatre (no surprise) and made a very good observation.  Dramaturgs do so much and yet always get paid so little, if anything at all.  So this time, what if instead of asking what I do, the question was: why? I like to think of it as a thirst.  A thirst for it all and as much theatre as you can get.

What do you say? Is that our curse, being poor but happy? I think that is the best thing that could come from this Green Room blog site: really getting to know theatre artists, what they do and why.

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