Anne’s Blog

Ask a Dramaturg

Question: “My theater company is thinking of working with a dramaturg.  How should we go about finding someone and seeing if they would work well with our group?”

Excellent question!  I think the answer to the first part of your query at this moment in history is “social media!” Ask everyone to put the word out that you are looking.  And see if anyone in your company knows or has worked with a good dramaturg in the past.  Even if they are not available personally, a friend or former colleague might know someone they would recommend.
Amy, Missoula MT

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Question: “What does your community/your neighborhood need and how can you provide it as a theater artist? Especially now when the theater feels fragile and so many up-and-coming theater artists find opportunities few and far between.”

This is the most important question all theater people have to ask. And the more creatively you answer it early in your career the greater your potential as a theater artist will be. I would not recommend finding an answer to it alone. Finding the people who will help you start to answer it will tell you a lot about your already developing theater aesthetic.

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Interesting Plays, Images, Ideas

Yevgeny Vakhtangov

“One genius actor is not theater; it is a monster, a miracle. To prefer one good actor over a good ensemble is to deny the very essence of theater; the concept of theater includes the notion of the collective.”

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Klaus Frahm’s Backstage Theater Photographs

I'm not sure how I came across the backstage photographs - a series now a few decades old - of Klaus Frahm.  But I found them immediately not only beautiful and compelling, but somehow so emotionally resonant with the love we feel for making theater.  I considered...

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“Black Nativity” by Langston Hughes

While reading and researching all things Langston while we were doing the run-up to our production of “Mule Bone” I was astonished that the tradition of performing “Black Nativity” had languished as a Christmas entertainment.  It’s not “The Nutcracker” but surely a way to feature a series of church choirs in a community in a holiday-period run in a way that would bring audiences into a theater – and perhaps even introduce audiences to a space new to them. 

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Max Brod

The universe is grateful to Max Brod, author, friend and editor of many writers in pre-WWII Prague and best known as the disobedient executor of the work of Franz Kafka. Instead of following Kafka’s instructions to burn all his writings after his death from...

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A Missed Opportunity

In 1972, I was a grad student, aged 22, and| was a script reader at the lowest rung of the ladder for the Yale Repertory Theater. I had just come to the East Coast for the first time in the fall of 1971. When I graduated in 1973, took a teaching job to support myself. In 1975 (check the postmark on the envelope) I received a letter where | was working (my personal address was unknown to Yale) from the next, newly appointed literary manager at the Yale Rep who must have been cleaning up the office as he began the job.

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Black Characters in Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline Drama

This is an appendix from an interesting book entitled "The Popular Image of the Black man in English drama, 1550-1688" by Elliot H. Tokson.  I copied it and kept it in my "interesting things" file folder.  There are some very good writers on this list, and most of the...

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An Unlikely Artistic Couple

I wonder if the catalogue of Lorca’s plays that Wilder found interesting is at the Beinecke Library at Yale in the Wilder papers?

Tabula Rasa -Personal History by John McPhee
The New Yorker, Jan 13. 2020
Thornton Wilder at the Century

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So, how can one translate this wasteland both on page and then later to stage—
especially if you want to do the play without radical adaptational intervention (as Bou-
Matar did so brilliantly… but I’m not him.)? Any straight on translation, it seems to me,
would have to suffer the anxiety of cultural essentialisms: of learning, borrowing
(stealing?) from Bergman’s successful fealty to Swedish rhythms. But how?

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Barry Lopez, prize winning author of “Artic Dreams” on writing

Below is a speech Lopez gave in 2008 at the Morgan Library at a ceremony celebrating young writers.  Note the date – rather prescient.

I can’t recommend “Artic Dreams” too highly, and it was one of most highly acclaimed books of the 1980’s.   It’s about nature, and history and writing.

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