The Thaumaturgy Department

(It's dramaturgy, not thaumaturgy.)


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:
Next to Normal
It's A Wonderful Life
One Night in Miami
Herzog Rep
After the Revolution
4000 Miles
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.


A dream is a wish your heart makes
when you’re fast asleep.
In dreams you will lose your heartache:
whatever you wish for you keep.

Have faith in your dreams, and someday
your rainbow will come smiling through.
No matter how your heart is grieving
if you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true.

Walt Disney’s Cinderella

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Like a Venn Diagram for Shakespeare’s wonderful line from Winter’s Tale, “If this be magic, let it be an art lawful as eating.”

Like a Venn Diagram for Shakespeare’s wonderful line from Winter’s Tale, “If this be magic, let it be an art lawful as eating.”

(Source: thedaughterrisen, via rmgilby)

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How Gray-Hairs are dyed Black

Beauty tips from a 17thC book of magic.

posted at Shakespeare’s England: How Gray-Hairs are dyed Black

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Another day…

another query from rehearsal. Again from the first week of rehearsal, this came our way:

We are swinging into gear up here.  On p. 14 of the re-typed script, ADDAPERLE talks about “wave of my wanga” and we have a version of a wanga from props, but Irene is curious about additional research on wangas.  She will also be talking to a magic consultant about ADDAPERLE turning this prop into a pair of handkerchiefs or feathers.  Any additional information would be a help.

 Thank you very much! [see how polite they are? it really helps.]  

So, we sent along a few pages of background research—excerpted below—and some additional images, like these. Yep, all for a line of dialogue and a few seconds of stage gimmickry. That is just how we roll.

1) The Wanga are a tribe of the Luhya people of Kenya, one of the most populous and powerful in the area in the 18th and 19th C; today they number about half-a-million. The name seems to have stuck to some religious & magical practices associated with this area, as well as with the nkisi of Congo, that were brought to the West Indies and the Americas.

2) In Obeah and Vodoo, “wanga” most generally just means a spell (see below), but also specifically comes to signify a charm or totem or amulet intended to work a spell (some positive, some negative), and what we think of as a “voodoo doll.” These charms and dolls are known as Wanga Packets, Wanga Dolls, or just plain Wangas…

You might say that the Wizard’s gifts are also a form of Wanga….

3) “The construction of wanga is one of the most often requested ceremonies for a Houngan or Mambo to perform. A wanga is a “spell”. There are many different wanga and many different ways to construct them. Some wanga are the personal secrets of a Houngan or Mambo, and some are known as traditional. When a Houngan/Mambo does a wanga, they are usually said to have mare wanga,’ or tied a wanga.”

Tags | wiz | rehearsal | du jour | wanga | voodoo | nkisi | magic

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