When Prince Schwarzenberg asked Heinrich Laube, the great Director of the Burgtheatre in Vienna, what a dramaturg really was, the latter could only answer hesitatingly and shrugging his shoulders: "Highness, that is what no one could tell you in a few words." Gunter Skopnik, "An Unusual Person--Der Dramaturg--Une Institution Proprement Allemande," World Theatre 9.3 (1960): 233- 238.
QUOTES: SHORT NOTES ON THE DRAMATURG AND DRAMATURGY FROM A VARIETY OF PERSPECTIVES DRAMATURG: "[I]n the theatrical companies of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the resident playwright who wrote his own plays for the actors in the troupe, or found foreign plays which he translated, say, from the French or Italian, or produced cut versions of classical plays that required a cast too large for the restricted number of actors available to his particular troupe." Martin Esslin, "The Role of the Dramaturg in European Theatre" Theater 10.1 (1978): 48. DRAMATURGY AND THE AUDIENCE: "[A] number of major German/dramaturgs, including Lessing, Johann Tieck, Otto Brahm, and Bertolt Brecht (one of Max Reinhardt's dramaturgs), advocated theatre forms that were initially unpopular and later found an audience." Joel Schechter, "American Dramaturgs." The Drama Review 20.2 (1976): 89. DRAMATURGY AND LITERATURE: "In short, the Dramaturg is primarily responsible for the dramatic and literary, as opposed to the theatrical aspects of the theatre." Ellwood, 25. DRAMATURGY AND THE TEXT: "There used to be a time, as with the Sacred, when we could go back to the Book and check our interpre- tation. The Text was the inseminating source to which we were to show fidelity, line perfect, deferring to the Author as if he were God the Father." Herbert Blau, Blooded Thought: Occasions for Theatre. New York: Performing Arts Journal, 1982. 28. DRAMATURGY AS AN ATTRIBUTE OF THE PLAYSCRIPT: "Dramaturgy: ac-tion, story, fable, catastrophy, rules, unities, etc."; the "treatment of time and space, the configuration of characters in the dramatic universe, the sequential organization of the epi- sodes of the Story." Patrice Pavis. Languages of the Stage: Essays in Semiology of Theatre. New York: Performing Arts Journal, 1982. 98, 100. DRAMATURGY AS A WEAVING-TOGETHER: "The word text, before refer-ring to a written or spoken, printed or manuscripted text, meant 'a weaving together'. In this sense, there is no performance which does not have a 'text'. That which concerns the text (the weave) of the performance can be defined as 'dramaturgy', that is, drama-ergon, the 'work of the actions' in the performance." Eugenio Barba and Nicola Savarese. "Dramaturgy." A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology: The Secret Art of the Performer. Trans. Richard Fowler. New York: Routledge, 1991. 68. DRAMATURGY AND DOUBTING: "I believe that the basic requirement for all rehearsal work at the Schaubuhne is primarily a kind of doubting process . . . a doubting and questioning of the theatri- cal means and also of the traditional themes." Jack Zipes. "Utopia as the Past Conserved: An Interview with Peter Stein and Dieter Sturm of the Schaubuhne am Halleschen Ufer." Theater 9.1 (1977): 52. DRAMATURGY AND AUTHORITY: "In most German theatres the chief Dramaturg holds a position of considerable power and often dominates even the top man, the artistic director. . . . Often very sharp conflicts develop between them . . ." Esslin 49. DRAMATURGY AND EXPERIENCE: "I have found a good deal of directing and acting experience to be as essential for a dramaturg as a background in literature, playwriting or theatre history." Anne Cattaneo 20. DRAMATURGY AND RESEARCH: "We use a great many aids which other actors and theatre people do not use since they don't see the necessity to use them, such as readings, literary studies, scientific works, political analysis, films, paintings, etc.--actually things which are quite normal, but the difference is that we conduct this research in a relatively extensive and rigorous fashion. Then, during rehearsals, we start to push ourselves and to express things which we have grasped, understood, or sensed, by using our bodies and making some movements." Zipes 53. DRAMATURGY AND THE LIBERAL ARTS: "A liberal arts theatre education should teach text analysis, research, writing, language, and organizational skills; appreciation of cultural (not just theatrical) history and current events; artistry; critical acumen; responsibility and interpersonal skills. I believe any liberal arts education, particularly theatre, is capable of increasing the student's self-esteem and therefore the student's ability to function optimally in a complex and interdependent world. Production dramaturgy includes . . . text analysis, research and writing. It demands organizational skills. It fosters ability to work collaboratively and sensitively with others. But it must also be considered an art, because it involves, as well, exercise of the creative imagination and aesthetic judgment. It is a microcosm of the entire liberal arts experience." Lila Wolff-Wilkinson. "Comments on Process: Production Dramaturgy as the Core of the Liberal Arts Theatre Program." Theatre Topics 3.1 (1993): 1. DRAMATURGY AND QUESTIONING: "The reluctance to accept dramaturgy and dramaturg as English words reflects a deeper resistance to thinking about the theatrical process as a whole. . . . The main job of a dramaturg is to keep asking why. Why are we doing this play? Why this season? Why here? Why does our theatre exist? Why do we exist? [E]verybody . . .concentrates on the mechanics of how to get it done, hoping that the why will take care of itself. Yet, as Dr. Victor Frankl has pointed out it works exactly the other way around. He observed that only those survived the Nazi concentration camps who knew why they wanted to live; those who could not find meaning in their life died faster than those from whom they stole bread. In order to find the "how," we must first know the "why." Meaning is central to human existence and art." Peter Hay. "American Dramaturgy: A Critical Reappraisal." Performing Arts Journal 7.3 (1983): 13-14; Dr. Victor Frankl. Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logoherapy. Boston: Beacon Press, 1959. DRAMATURGY AND PHYSICS: "To talk about a dramaturg and dramaturgy, perhaps we ought to resort to physics. A dramaturg can be a particle or a wave. When we expect one, we always get the other. In recent history, he, she or it tends to be a 'particle' because the wide spectrum of functions rests in one person or one identifiable group of people who call themselves dramaturgs. This is a fairly recent phenomenon. Dramaturgy is also a wave because it's always been there as a force in the theatre. It's not an innovation. It's not an interloper. The function, the impulse, the need, the action has always been there. In other words, we know perfectly well that this critical function is necessary in the theatre and that it has to get accomplished. How it gets accomplished is perhaps our subject. "Dramaturgy and Physics: panel discussion moderated by James Leverett with James C. Nicola, Richard Dresser, Morgan Jenness, and Tim Sanford." Journal of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation 5.1 (1991): 4. DRAMATURGY AND DEVELOPING NEW WORK: "A dramaturg who cannot propose remedies for remediable scripts and who, like the Aushwitz railway doctor, merely gestures to the right for salvageable or the left for expendable, seems to me to be an unnecessary luxury in a theatrical institution. The dramaturg's most valuable function is to help create new material in collaborations with others--writers, directors, actors and designers. This presupposes a dramaturg who is not merely a Ph.D. graduate from an ivy-league university or a jumped-up journalist, but a person with literary and theatrical skills who can function not only as editor, but as writer as well." Charles Marowitz. "Frontlines: The Dramaturg's Lament." American Theatre DRAMATURGY AND SEMIOTICS: "If you put our profession in historical perspective, though, things don't look so bad. We've only been around the American theatre (consciously, as dramaturgs) for 20 years or so, and we've made some real progress. When you consider that many people still don't know what a theatre is for, their ignorance about dramaturgy is scarcely surprising. But this is no cosmic state which we must endure, it's a situation which we can help to change. If part of the problem is semiotic, perhaps part of the solution is as well. As Michael Bigelow Dixon, Literary Manager of Actors Theater of Louisville says, "The word 'dramaturg' is like the word 'fuck.' They'll get used to it." They'll get used to us, too. David Copelin. LMDA Review 1989: 5. DRAMATURGY AND LOVE: "A script comes in at my theatre, and I'm the first one who is apt to fall in love with it. . . . [S]ometimes there's no director for that play yet. Okay now, I may not choose the director, but the fact is, once it goes into production I have had the longest relationship with that play of anybody at that theatre." Tim Sanford, Dramatists Guild Symposium DRAMATURGY AND GEOGRAPHY, PART II: You can often tell by where the dramaturg's office is. If it's near the artistic director, that's one thing, if it's around the corner down the hall behind the air conditioning unit, that's another." James Leverett, Dramatists Guild Symposium DRAMATURGY AND MEMORY: "It's . . . an enormous asset to have somebody who can not only speak in terms of history but also understands the form, who understands that any play written today is descended from a series of traditions of form and can remind me as I am working that this form exists: 'Do you want to follow those rules? Do you want to break those rules? What do you want to do?' It's somebody that challenges me to articulate what I feel and think, which in the heat of doing things, you don't always stay in touch with. James C. Nicola, Dramatists Guild Symposium DRAMATURGY AND JOURNEYING: "The play asks a question. A great play asks more than one. The job of the dramaturg is to help all the artists and the audience to ask the same question of themselves. The journey of the theater is self-discovery." Jayme Koszyn, dramaturg, The Huntington Theatre DRAMTURGY AND THE WRITER: Working as a dramaturg with a playwright is the most intimate experience outside marriage that I've experienced. Harriet Power, dramaturg, Venture Theatre DRAMATURGY AND THE VOICE: I am always amazed that people want to hear what I have to say. Mona Heinze, dramaturg THE DRAMATURGES OF YAN: "Jim Lewis at the Guthrie Theater sent us the following book cover for his regular column on dramaturgy in the popular culture": John Brunner, (Author of the stunning science-fiction classic STAND ON ZANZIBAR) DRAMATURGES OF YAN. The Greatest Show on Yan! Yan was the home of an old culture where the humanoid natives walked in the shadows of immense artifacts, the dramatic legacy of a history long forgotten. Only myths remained to tell of the dramaturges, the great heroes of ancient Yan." DRAMATURGES OF YAN is available from Ballantine books." LMDA Review 5.1: 4) DRAMATURGY AND MURDER: "Spenser to the AD of the Port City Theater Company: 'Any Reason you can think of why someone would follow you? Disgruntled actor? Embittered dramaturge?' Susan glanced at me. The "dramaturge" was showing off, and she knew it. from Walking Shadow by Robert Parker. New York: Putman's, 1994.
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