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June 10, 2011

I vividly recall being one of the many audience members listening to a panel of highly respectable playwrights.  The topic of the panel is inconsequential, but I will say that most of the panelists are not only working artists, but professors/teachers of the craft at all levels of education.  At this point in my blossoming career, I was eager to hear the views of these giants in the field.  Unfortunately, my excitement was quickly curbed during the Q&A portion of this event when I witness a Dramaturg, after introducing himself as such, literally booed by one of the panelists.  My jaw drops, my eyes widen, and I am immediately thrown into a fit of rage.  To say the least, this hurt.  I will not, out of courtesy, reveal who this playwright is, but I will say that I have intentionally avoided his productions after seeing this behavior.

This I cannot tolerate! It makes me very sad to think that someone can be a teaching artist; professor of playwriting at a prestigious university and have such hatred for any fellow artist; especially one that he hasn’t had the opportunity to work with (yet).  To think, this man is filling the minds of young artists with such venom scares me.  How is a Dramaturg to feel?  These students will go out into the theatre world with the idea that we are, what? Evil? Someone to fight against or ignore?  Shortly after this I read an article that called for Dramaturg’s to stop “helping” playwrights with their scripts (quotations they included in the article, obviously to take a swing at the Dramatug’s common task of developing new work at theatres).  To reduce any artist to such a small fraction of their endless responsibilities is like saying a Director isn’t any more than a traffic cop: someone who tells actors where to stand on stage; or to liken actors to puppets: there only to create an image from the Directors mind (both of which I have heard on more than one occasion and makes me equally as sad).

When will we as a community of artists learn to respect and appreciate each other as equally important to the process?  If you have been reading my blogs you will already know my stance on the collaborative nature of our art. When did artists start turning against each other?  Why the animosity? What makes artists turn on their own kind? Is it egos, insecurities, or something else entirely? This is an offense that must not continue; but how do we stop the hate?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2011 9:09 am

    I agree that it is strange for one artist to boo another. Bt I think there is still a lot of confusion on the exact role of a dramaturg. Different people and different companies all value them differently and as such you will still get haters.

    • The Restless Dramaturg permalink
      June 21, 2011 11:16 am

      You are so right. It is an unfortunate truth in today’s theatre world. I try, through this blog and other facets of my profession, to educate and enlighten. People fear what they don’t understand and that fear develops into hate. My friend took his boos like a champ and is now an inspiration for Dramaturgs everywhere to fight the fear of being hated on, and speak out for your fellow workers.

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