Dedication to Dramaturgy
The development of new scripts and old scripts, via dramaturgy, is a vital aspect to creating excellent productions. As an original script dramaturge, I work directly with playwrights -- conducting research alongside her, participating in writing workshops, carefully reading the text and bringing new insights to story, structure, and character.
A key moment in this for me was the development of the play As It Is In Heaven by Arlene Hutton. We developed and rehearsed this play in New York City, opened it in Edinburgh, and then I directed its first College/University production for Calvin College and the Festival of Faith and Writing in 2002. Subsequently we developed Edith Stein, The Women of Lockarbie, Backborn, and then Hildegard: Trumpet of God which has since been made into a film.
When working on old texts, I translate, edit, move text and such in order to make the play work onstage for an artistic vision. This is the case with my work on Shakespeare -- Richard III, The Tempest, Hamlet, A MIdsummer Night's Dream, and King Lear were all worked on in this manner.
In devising adaptations, I work carefully with the novel or source material to bring the text up and out of the source into a performance text. Jane Austen's Emma, Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, The Book of the Dun Cow, and all of the work on ethnographic verbatim theatre is created with a strong sensibility to the non-theatrical material.
When working with students on dramaturgy, I teach them to thoroughly research the text, and create a visual/textual display for the audience that augments the production experience.
Dramaturgy is concerned with the backbone of the play, telling the story effectively, making certain that there is an integrity of concept, text, and style, and communicating well to the audience to make the experience of attending a performance the best that it can be.