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Category: Dramaturgy

Production Dramaturgy and the C-Word

Production Dramaturgy and the C-Word

We’ve been having many post-performance discussions of What She Knew with peers and friends concerning the dramaturgy of the script and the production.  Also I’ve been participating in a related very interesting discussion on production dramaturgy at the listserv at LMDA The script is theory not praxis, relative to the particular elements and context of its production, most especially the ensemble.  One ensemble will realize the dynamics and nuanced relationships within a script vastly different than another.  Neither would necessarily…

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Reseating Perspective

Reseating Perspective

It’s been my privilege to work with playwright/director George Hunka, performer Gabriele Schafer, and the other designers on theatre minima’s debut production of What She Knew. George, Gabriele and I had an especially rewarding collaboration.  We began working on it together in a reading back in February.  I am quite proud of my contribution to the nuanced, commanding performance and production of a vital theatre text. The mise en scene suggested in the script is minimal: White cyclorama, without entrance…

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How to Play the Diversity Card

How to Play the Diversity Card

The theatrosphere’s talk on diversity has gone from bad to worse. The three shills in the house, linking to each other’s blog posts to keep the thread undead, have been Isaac, 99 seats, and Scott. This comment by KL at Isaac’s correctly summarizes why everyone is jumping off this ship to nowhere. It’s not much of a conversation. It’s mostly one side arguing a principle (we need more diversity!) without really offering any facts. Instead, unsupported suppositions, misleading correlations and…

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She and the Empty Living Room

She and the Empty Living Room

My blogging will continue to be intermittent now that our October production approaches. We’ll be headed up north to Ithaca for rehearsals in September. Before we leave we will host one more Avant Yarde event, so stay tuned here for that announcement shortly. Markus drove Carolina to JFK Monday night, so she is back in Argentina now. She is gone and present at the same time. I am meditating on her performance with Markus in She and the Empty Living…

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Staging the N-word

Staging the N-word

I received some insightful and referenced comments from the dramaturgs on the LMDA listserv concerning the use of the N-word on stage and the struggle of our current production to present it. But interesting how even within the context of a discussion of the word itself, there seems to be a taboo against typing the full six-lettered word nigger onto the digital page, as if not only any utterance, but also any “publication” of the word would easily transcend the…

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Dramaturgy and PR

Dramaturgy and PR

Plays are part and parcel of their productions. Zeitgeist, site-specific elements and the actor/producer’s explicit talents and ambitions all inform the reality. Does the “event” of the production have any historical importance to theatre or the world? The “audience” of this event is not something that will be measured at the box office or necessarily in popular success. Jarry’s Ubu Roi and Chekhov’s The Seagull both premiered in 1896 to disparaging audiences. In most ways contrary to one another, both…

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Butoh Fu for The Ghost of Hamlet’s Flesh

Butoh Fu for The Ghost of Hamlet’s Flesh

Something is rotten in Denmark. Old Hamlet’s putrid flesh decomposes but will not surrender its ghost. Manifold earth would take the decomposing flesh as its own, but the flesh cannot surrender its elemental nature until the usurped monarchy is brought back into the natural order of the universe. waguri Old Hamlet rises as a frightful Frankenstein of disparate elements out of the bowels of the putrefied kingdom. As sovereign king on earth he summons all of nature to the place…

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Keep Your SASE

Keep Your SASE

Christine Chun displaying word No. 1262 in Shelley Jackson’s Skin The grrlz all now have a tattoo at the base of their spine. The vogue is a midriff-exposing top and low-riding jeans. The thong rises out of the back of the jeans almost as pedestal to display the art. Fashion is fascist the tattoo says as much about the dead eye of desire reading the display as it does about the playwright marketing his work. I’ve been spoiled I guess….

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Travelling Light

Travelling Light

“And this was really the way that my whole road experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.” –Jack Kerouac, On the Road Twenty-five years ago, ABC NO RIO in an art exchange with Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago, brought Thieves Theatre to the Lower East Side . At the time we were doing my script Travelling Light about a long haul trucker whose CB radio handle is Bird of Prayer and the…

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The Bounty

The Bounty

Josey Wales: You a bounty hunter? Bounty hunter: A man’s got to do something for a living these days. Josey Wales: Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy. Richard Nelson confesses he doesn’t have a philosophy for teaching playwriting. Instead he offers as the criteria qualifying him as chair of the playwright program, the fact that he believes he is the first “working playwright” in that position.Nelson begins his video presentation for the Yale School of Drama with a personal…

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American Idolatry

American Idolatry

Drawing for The Heart, The Pen, And The Page – (c) 2004 Charles Vincent The plan was that no matter what I did, how busy I was, what other commitments I had, I would write a play a day, every single day for a year. It would be about being present and being committed to the artistic process every single day, regardless of the “weather.” It became a daily meditation, a daily prayer celebrating the rich and strange process of…

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WordPlays:365 Days/365 Ways to No Box Office

WordPlays:365 Days/365 Ways to No Box Office

The NO BOX OFFICE is the most radical notion in the 365 Days/365 Plays project. In NYC and LA, Actors Equity allows token payments to actors in showcase and 99 seat production contracts. So actors can work in similar spirit to the dollar a day token royalty the playwright receives. I’m interested in how theaters are paying Equity actors working elsewhere in the country on this project. I expect circumvention. Likewise on the NO BOX OFFICE restriction. The Foundry Theatre…

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Trick or Treat,

Trick or Treat,

“Money or Eats” ™ At Dramaturgy.net there is a link to the RENT Lawsuit Transcripts and to an article on August 26, 1998 in Talkin’ Broadway about the case being closed. I am not sure about “the industry” but most people I know working in theatre would find this statement in the article more than mere hyperbole. Not only was Lynn Thomson never called “the Rosa Parks of the theatre industry”, most would find the analogy itself offensive. The heirs…

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Fatboy Slim Theatre

Fatboy Slim Theatre

It is mostly sentiment to say our art is gift. More honestly, we would recognize that our art is at least as complex as our lives are. We barter continually for our daily existence. Each of us are at least partial commodity in that way. The better part of our being (often termed art or love) sometimes struggles to be free of that condition. Understanding that our art is as we ourselves are, both gift and commodity, we can easier…

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Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith

I keep the Kierkegaard anthology bookmarked at Fear and Trembling where he explains the “man of faith.” When Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia on the command from the Delphi Oracle, and for the good of the nation, he is acting on a high moral plane, but he’s not a man of faith. That’s because all of Greece listens to the same such words from on high. Agamemnon is not alone; he has the whole nation agreeing his sacrifice is righteous….

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In Perpetuity

In Perpetuity

The Great Law of Peace was the constitution that united the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. This confederacy and its laws is said to have inspired Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine in the writing of the United States Constitution. One of the precepts of the Great Law of Peace was referred to as the Seventh Generation. This principle instructs chiefs to consider the impact of their decisions on the seventh generation to come. Theatre is an art form that…

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Playwrights Can’t Scream

Playwrights Can’t Scream

Artaud insisted that the playwright or the text should not be the final authority in the collaborative process. As Derrida highlights in his essays on Artaud, the essence of his rant was against the actors’ presence being flunky to the prompter’s (text) presence. The Prompter is the sneaky little whisperer in his dark dank box off stage. As if my ears were attached to some wimp of a performer, receiving his delivery as if he were taking orders, submitting like…

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Belated Portrait for the Theatre of Cruelty

Belated Portrait for the Theatre of Cruelty

Drawing on Artaud for inspiration is one thing but to actually produce a work of his is quite another. Producing To Have Done with the Judgment of God has proved a daunting exploration. Thieves Theatre has always had it “in the works” and then “on the back burner” and then in the forefront again. The aspiration toward this non-production has inspired and informed our other productions for at least ten years now. Susan Sontag explains how many artists have read/practiced…

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Rain Dog Dance

Rain Dog Dance

Much of Artaud’s theory on theatre can be classified as the dramaturgy of the actor. It’s easy to see why Butoh originator Hijikata found a shared sensibility and stratagem for performance in Artaud’s writings. One of his prized possessions was the recorded copy of Artaud’s radio broadcast. This tape of To Have Done With The Judgement Of God was played when Hijikata choreographed Min Tanaka in a performance entitled Ren-ai Butoh-ha Teiso (Foundation of the Dance of Love). To work…

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