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Learning to edit yourself

August 31, 2011

I read a quote that said: “An intellectual says a simple thing in a complex way; an artist says a complex thing in a simple way.”  This says to me that the idea of the Intellectual Artist is somewhat of an anomaly.  I have met some extremely intellectual actors, directors, designers, in my time; but though they have intellectual tendencies, they almost always classify themselves as Artist first.  I feel that the Dramaturg serves both purposes equally and therefore I have a hard time determining which has the most pull.  We work in creative context with the eye of an intellectual.  However, it is a balancing act when determining which side is meant to emerge and when.  This is how we slowly learn to edit ourselves, especially in rehearsal.  For example, when determining the artistic value of having a moon shining on the lovers as they say their final goodbyes; you may want to refrain from bringing up the fact that the moon is not in the right phase for the time… it won’t bother anyone but you.  I know.  The only ones who pick up on those factoids are Dramaturgs because they’ve been trained to.  When in production let the creativity flow and see what comes of it.  If at the end of the 18 hour rehearsal day you find that the factoids just don’t add up and the audience is confused; then it’s time to speak up and let the intellectual side take over.  Dramaturgs are rarely the final decision makers when it comes to any production (with the exception of maybe some playbill notes), but their opinions have value because they are usually grounded in something intellectual.  As part of the creative process a Dramaturg must learn when and where their notes are appropriate.  If you misjudge either the when or the where you may get a frustrated Director screaming “I hate your notes!” but later use most of them in production.  I’m sure I am not the only one with horror stories of when the editing didn’t work.  But what about when it did? How have you used your editing skills to get things done?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. California Triple-Threat permalink
    August 31, 2011 11:59 am

    I encountered this when I was producing a show. It felt like my feedback wasn’t wanted or received. I had to learn to internalize and/or write my thoughts down so I could talk to the director when she was ready to hear it. It was frustrating to me to not be able to help fix things on the timing I thought appropriate. The director took time to listen to me, but I had to learn her style before I knew when was a good time to talk to her. But in the end we were really happy with the project we had collaborated on. Good blog post. 🙂
    P.S. do you know who that quotation is by? I really like it.

  2. August 31, 2011 3:34 pm

    mentioned this on my blog today…

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