Since our first few posts, we have been discussing how to shape this blog into what we ultimately want: a blog created as a place to showcase works by young dramaturgs in order to archive our thoughts and store our processes. We hope, with the growth of the blog, to get a better idea of how exactly to best do this. Many of our initial posts revolved around the questions “What is dramaturgy?” and “Why do we choose to pursue it?”
I, like most dramaturgs, find it difficult (and sometimes irritating) to answer the question, “What do you do?” over and over. I find it equally difficult to explain my passion without what seems like a ten-hour discussion. Our job is to clarify dramatic texts and, essentially, make sense of things. But, ironically, we struggle to make sense of our own profession. We grapple.
In light of this, we have decided to add a few sections to The Grappler (along with our usual opinion pieces) in hopes of answering this question by showing you, through rehearsal logs, interviews, conversations among artists, virtual actor packets, and various other pieces, what it is exactly that we do.
In one section, “In the Rehearsal Room,” we will blog regularly from production meetings, rehearsal rooms, and DePaul’s Merle Reskin Theatre, our main stage space, during tech. We hope that this gives you a greater understanding of the day-to-day actions of a dramaturg in process, after Mark Bly’s The Production Notebooks.
To create a catalog of past work, and also give dramaturgs everywhere examples of study guides, program notes, and actor packets, we are adding a Virtual Actor Packet section. Here we will post actor packets and other dramaturgical materials to start a dialogue about how we are creating these tools for the production team and cast. Every dramaturg creates their actor packets differently (and every show dictates a different process) and we would like to create a place where we can compare and contrast our approaches.
In order to study the act of giving an interview, we are creating an Interviews section where we will post recent interviews with artists at The Theatre School at DePaul University and Chicago at large. Brainstorming in conversation is one of the main ways in which dramaturgs influence any given production. Showcasing different techniques with which to converse with a director, designer, or an entire production team, we hope to write about the theatrical process from the inside out.
As you will see we have also added many websites to the Links section. These are sights that we find particularly helpful when researching, or that we just think are particularly evocative.
We hope you enjoy our new look—happy reading!
– Brittany Jean Squier