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Literary Internship

November 2, 2012

So along with the numerous amount of things I’m juggling in my life right now, one of those things is a Literary Internship (and it’s paid!). The main part of what I do is that I read new plays and write an evaluation on them. So far, I love this experience I have so far doing this. It’s a really relaxed atmosphere with a good and small theatre company and as long as I do my work things go smoothly. From my time doing this so far, I feel like a literary internship would be beneficial for any early career theatre artist.

No matter if you want to be an actor, director, writer, designer, dramaturg, or stage manager, you need to know how to analyze and interpret scripts that way you can create your own vision. Getting literary experience has to be one of the best ways to make that happen. Especially for anyone in NYC, since new play development is such a strong and common thing around here this is something that really helps one develop their own point of view.

Another thing it helps is how to tell a strong script from one that can still use some revisions. Having a literary internship makes those differences clearer in not just telling the difference, but why is has that difference. You focus even more on character development, plot, structure, dialogue, dramatic action, and themes in a way you usually don’t do when working on a show in one way or another. It gives you a chance to look at a script in a whole new light.

Along with that, with a literary internship you have to evaluate in one way or another the scripts you read. As the saying goes “Everyone is a critic” and whether we like to admit it or not it really is true. It’s not a bad thing, but a way that we learn and grow as human beings (it’s only bad when people are criticizing instead of being constructive). So being able to write-up your own evaluation on a script’s strengths and weakness’ will only help you in any aspect of theatre you are interested in.

Particularly for Playwrights and Dramaturgs it’s such a valuable experience, since a large part of a Dramaturgs job is to analyze a script and give their feedback on how it can be better (without of course telling the playwright what to do). While playwrights (like all other theatre artists can see the difference between strong scripts and one’s the still need work, and place it into context with their own work as to where they can improve so they can write stronger plays.

Overall, I’d recommend any early career theatre artist to do literary work at some point. It really does help you understand plays, their development, and creating your visions through its context stronger. Plus, it’s an incredibly helpful thing to have on your resume, since it’s not a very common thing to have, and makes professionals become more impressed with you as a theatre artist.

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