Summary:

Professor Lordi-Kirkham’s THDA 319 Dramaturgy explores dramaturg through theoretical and applied investigations of dramatic texts in historical, literary, and performative contexts. Students researched and analyzed text for/about the theater and dramaturgical roles on various kinds and aspects of production. They also completed a dramaturgical casebook for a local theatre production.

Community-Based Research or Service Learning course specifics:

Community-Based Research: Theatres hire dramaturgs to work on both new and existing productions. Often the “scholar” for a production, the dramaturg provides the director and cast with historical research on the time period of the play, the author of the play, the play’s production history, and any relevant research based on the vision/requests of the specific production. They often create a production dramaturgy casebook and online document that the entire artistic team has access to. These works help the play be historically accurate, address any re-occurring issues with the play on stage, and assist in the collaborative process as a whole. On a new work, a dramaturg works with a playwright as a sort of editor. The dramaturg reads drafts of the play and asks the playwright questions to help them refine and perfect the script.

A dramaturg also works on audience outreach and marketing. They create a study guide for audiences to help them have context for the production. It is also often their job to write program notes and create a lobby display that informs audiences about the production or the work that went into it. The dramaturg serves as a bridge between the world backstage and the world of the audience. Finally, a dramaturg often hosts talkbacks, facilitating a discussion about the play and the process and allows the cast to ask the audience what was clear or was not clear.

Finally, some dramaturgs go on to be theater critics and/or historians/translators/academics. They in many ways foster the important perception of theater as an art form worthy of serious study and examination and continue the tradition of theoretical writing about drama.

Course goals

1. Research and analyze a variety of dramatic theories and their relationship to the production process.

2. Describe the evolving role of the dramaturg through history and today.

3. Utilize library collection and databases for dramaturgical research, including an era’s social history and production histories, comparing translations, analyzing critical responses to past productions.

4. Articulate an apply dramaturgical writing and practice to plays studied in the course and produced by the department through the creation of a production casebook

5. Learn and assume roles of production dramaturg through a variety of oral and written assignments

6. Ability to apply dramaturgical perspectives to an issue of public significance

7. Cultivate civic dispositions and skills that prepare you for a life of civic engagement

Grading scheme:

Reading Notes/Discussion Questions/Class Assignments…………………………10%

To be brought to class and written for every reading assignment

Production Critiques………………………………………………………………..20%

(Clybourne Park, Field Trip, DTG, Local Productions)

3-5 pages- each paper is written using a different critical “voice.” We will all ideally attend the openings of the shows you are working on.

Dramaturgical Packet for Sense and Sensibility…………………………….30%

Each student will looked at a piece from a different theoretical perspective. The work was used as an audience/production guide for the summer performance of the play at Pendragon Theatre and earned students a dramaturgy credit in the program.

Dramaturgical Work, Presentation and Casebook for Community Production…………………………………………………………………………40%

Working in their production group, students created a casebook and/or study guide as dictated by the needs of their given theater. After the production, students presented to the class about their experience.

*Students were expected to get in contact with their directors and to attend rehearsals and to independently meet other production expectations.

Written end-of-semester Reflection…………………………………..required/ungraded

To be used as an instrument for assessment for civic learning/engagement outcomes.

Contacts:

  1. Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
    1. Alan Hineline, Hineline@cpyb.org,_717-245-1190
  2. Keystone Theatrics (Allenberry)
    1. Dustin LeBlanc, dleblanc@keystonetheatrics.com
  3. Open Stage
    1. Stuart Landon, stuart@openstagehbg.org
  4. Theater Harrisburg
    1. Brian Massey, BrianMassey05@hotmail.com

Outcomes: