The Thaumaturgy Department

(It's dramaturgy, not thaumaturgy.)

Gavin
CENTERSTAGE
Baltimore
Maryland
USA

thaumaturg
Main Entry: thau·ma·turg
Pronunciation: \ˈthȯ-mə-ˌtərj\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from New Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos working miracles, from thaumat-, thauma miracle + ergon work — more at Theater, Work

2014-2015 Season:
Amadeus
Next to Normal
It's A Wonderful Life
One Night in Miami
Herzog Rep
After the Revolution
4000 Miles
Marley
Play Labs

The official blog of the Dramaturgy Department at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE. For posts related to our current and upcoming shows, click the links to the right. Alternatively, you could begin at the beginning, and explore our posts in chronological order.

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Language & limits?

Considering this quotation and the work of so many playwrights, authors, artists, and other world-makers; and wondering whether instead our world is bound only by the limits of our imaginations, and not by our inability - yet - to utter it in language. Seems, rather, that language will follow when and where it must.

« The limits of my language means the limits of my world. »
- Wittgenstein



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Of puns it has been said that those who most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them. ~Edgar Allan Poe, standing up for wordplay then and now.


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"Why You Need A Copy Editor. A delightfully passive-aggressive copy editor at the Toronto Star marked up this memo announcing the elimination of copy-editing jobs at the Toronto Star.”

(via fletter)
ahem.

"Why You Need A Copy Editor. A delightfully passive-aggressive copy editor at the Toronto Star marked up this memo announcing the elimination of copy-editing jobs at the Toronto Star.”

(via fletter)

ahem.


Tags | funny | satire | language | writing

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Many pioneering artists have endured abuse from critics and naysayers. But once in a blue moon, time brings acceptance and acclaim, making those early detractors look silly to future generations. Check out how the following works—whose ‘classic’ status now seems self-evident—were once butchered by the Simon Cowells of yesteryear.

11 Early Scathing Reviews of Works Now Considered Masterpieces - Mental Floss

by Jon Seder - April 20, 2012



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newyorker:

Questioningly: Eliminate a Word from the English Language

Today, we’re trying out something we’re calling “Questioningly.” We’ll pose a question, and then ask you to answer it, either via Facebook or Twitter. The question will challenge you to provide an funny answer, though we will also accept answers that are witty, sharp, amusing, ingenious, or whimsical. When you respond, please use the hashtag #quesTioNinglY—that way we’ll know that you’re participating in the competition. Actually, we’re kidding. That’s way too hard. Just use #tnyquestion. Questioningly runs Fridays until Monday morning, when we’ll retweet the winning entry, along with some runners-up.

This week’s question is as follows:

If you could eliminate a single word from the English language, what would it be? Reasons can vary—overuse, etymological confusion, aesthetic ugliness—and need not be explained. Simply propose a word and append the #tnyquestion hashtag. We’ll consider them all, pick one, and then consult with the people who are in charge of the language to see what we can do.

Now, enjoy our unofficial theme song, courtesy of the Ramones.


Tags | language

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Dear Sir:

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.

I have just returned and I still like words.

May I have a few with you?

Robert Pirosh
385 Madison Avenue
Room 610
New York
Eldorado 5-6024

My new favorite job application letter, from 1934. He ended up winning an Oscar for screenwriting!

(via Letters of Note)

We like words too.

(via good)

(Source: megangreenwell, via egoetschius)



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npr:

Woot Now an *Official* Word According to the Concise OED


A new edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary arrives in stores today, and it contains some 400 new(ish) words, including woot, sexting, retweet, and cyberbullying. To make room for the new, some words that have fallen out of use had to be excised from the edition’s pages, such as “brabble” (meaning “paltry noisy quarrel”) and “growlery” (a “place to growl in, private room, den”). The editor of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary notes that we might call a growlery a “man cave” nowadays, but growlery is so evocative I hope it makes a comeback.

npr:

Woot Now an *Official* Word According to the Concise OED

A new edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary arrives in stores today, and it contains some 400 new(ish) words, including woot, sexting, retweet, and cyberbullying. 

To make room for the new, some words that have fallen out of use had to be excised from the edition’s pages, such as “brabble” (meaning “paltry noisy quarrel”) and “growlery” (a “place to growl in, private room, den”). The editor of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary notes that we might call a growlery a “man cave” nowadays, but growlery is so evocative I hope it makes a comeback.

(Source: theatlantic)


Tags | OED | language | news

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More tidbits of archaism

A few little challenges that arose lately, either because words have shifted their meaning in the centuries since Ford wrote 'Tis Pity or because hearing them out loud just brings up other associations than seeing them on the page. In at least one case, I’m betting that doubleness is intended by the playwright (sneaky fella) but it’s harder to pick up these days. Or so it would seem.

1) Annabella tells her brother/lover (did I just give something away again?) that in his face she sees “Distraction.” Well, she’s not complaining that he’s not paying her enough attention; as Ophelia says about Hamlet, she’s saying he looks wild and crazy, and not in a good way. So, what to do. Take a stab, anyone following along at home (d’oh, did I really just let myself say “Take a stab” about this play? Wow.).

2) Same girl, different moment. She’s talking to herself, as it would seem so many did back in those days (and some things never change; I feel as if my little asides here might be pretty much the virtual equivalent) and says she’s written a letter with lines “charactered in guilt.” Nice little pun on guilt/gilt, but it’s hard to pick up and can seem misleading….

3) Vasques, the lone Spaniard in this playload of Italians, tells the “lusty widow” Hippolita (really, that’s what they call her in the play, I’m not just saying that because of how she acts; the title has nothing to do with her!) that he thinks she might have been a little too “shrewd” with his master. And he’s not aiming compliments there, in honor of her savvy—though he ought to. Instead, he’s using an old word for “shrewish,” which hardly seems a nice thing to say when he’s buttering her up. But how many of us are going to hear “shrewd” and think anything but “clever, wily, savvy, ingenious” these days? Don’t all raise your hands at once (it makes typing hard).

So, more textual tinkering has ensued. The results onstage here in the Pearlstone Theater at 700 N. Calvert starting March 11th.



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