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Other Blogs: What is a Dramaturg?

Posted April 24th, 2013
The face of dramaturgy?

The face of dramaturgy?

There’s a nice interview on the 2AM Theatre blog with dramaturg Lorinika Thomas, in which Lorinika describes dramaturgy as the following:

“With thanks to the wisdom of several other dramaturgs for my definition: dramaturgs listen and question. We listen to and question the play, the playwright, the director, the artistic director, the actors, the designers, the mission of the theatre, the theatre, and the world–both as we know it and as we would like it to be. Robert Brustein called us the “humanist in the woodpile,” and I have always thought that had a nice ring to it. We research and contextualize the world of the play, work closely with playwrights and directors, serve as an audience before there is an audience. We are concerned with the work, with the place of the work within the larger world of the theatre, and the relationship between the audience and the work. We dream of the theatre as we hope it will be, and we work with other artists to make it so.”

I have heard other dramaturgs say similar things, even reference similar references, but I think that’s pretty eloquently put. Also, I like how Lorinika comes out as unabashedly gung-ho in the understated yet determined way that dramaturgs are about their craft (much like a dedicated library scientist). Her advice on those who want to enter the field? “Wear the label of ‘Dramaturg’ proudly, but also consider yourself a maker–a maker of theatre, of culture, of experiences, of life.”


–Said Johnson