How many dramaturgs does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Two - One to research everything about lightbulbs, the context of this lightbulb, ponder ‘why this lightbulb now?’, suggest edits for the lightbulb, investigate appropriate lightbulbs for the era, and finally screw the damn thing in. And one to casually mention that the lightbulb should actually be a candelabra.
“the central paradox of theater is that something which starts off complete, as true to itself, as self-contained and as subjective as a sonnet, is then thrown into a kind of spin dryer which is the process of staging the play; and that process is hilariously empirical”—Tom Stoppard, “Pragmatic Theatre,” Sept 23, 1999 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1999/sep/23/pragmatic-theater/
“We’ve told people that avant-garde theater is not for everybody. We could do more of what the fashion industry does—they make avant-garde fashion something you want to see. You may not want to wear it, but you want to see it and experience it. So if theater could figure out a way to convince people that unconventional forms are exciting. “Oh you might get bored by this? That’s exciting!” The idea that the play or the performance is supposed to solve everything for you in the moment is insidious. No, it’s supposed to offer you a conversation—after. To me, performance is about inspiring people to do things. The time that you’re sitting in the theater is about giving you context for what you’re going to do after—it’s not the thing. I think that’s all theater artists really do.”—Taylor Mac, in this interview in BOMB Magazine (via itsdlevy)
Janice Paran is a Senior Program Associate for the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the former Director of Play Development at McCarter Theatre, and the dramaturg on The Figaro Plays. Emilia LaPenta is McCarter Theatre’s Literary Manager, and Janice’s daughter. They recently sat down and…
“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.”—Barbara W. Tuchman (via observando)
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Annie-B Parsons and Paul Lazar. Photo by Leslie Lyons.
Elizabeth Williamson, Senior Dramaturg and Director of New Play Development, sits down with the directors of “Man in a Case,” Big Dance Theater’s Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar to discuss their process…
JACQUELINE LAWTON: Why did you decide to get into theatre? Was there someone or a particular show that inspired you? JAMILA REDDY: I love telling this story, because it reaffirms my belief that no matter what happens, I’ll always end up exactly where I need to be. I tried out…
Years and years ago, there was a production of The Tempest, out of doors, at an Oxford college on a lawn, which was the stage, and the lawn went back towards the lake in the grounds of the college, and the play began in natural light. But as it developed, and as it became time for Ariel to say his farewell to the world of The Tempest, the evening had started to close in and there was some artificial lighting coming on. And as Ariel uttered his last speech, he turned and he ran across the grass, and he got to the edge of the lake and he just kept running across the top of the water — the producer having thoughtfully provided a kind of walkway an inch beneath the water. And you could see and you could hear the plish, plash as he ran away from you across the top of the lake, until the gloom enveloped him and he disappeared from your view.
And as he did so, from the further shore, a firework rocket was ignited, and it went whoosh into the air, and high up there it burst into lots of sparks, and all the sparks went out, and he had gone.
When you look up the stage directions, it says, ‘Exit Ariel.’
"Because the indisputable fact is, you guys are in charge, and I’m not. You guys work for the organizations and theaters, which are in a position to not only help me and other new artists from my generation, but essentially give us our starts. And how can you even begin to do that, if you know nothing about all of the stuff that my generation likes and says and does, or worse think those things are not only trivial and stupid, but something to actively fight against?"
We shed as we pick up, like travelers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language.