Defining the New: Dramaturgy

Posted by on March 10, 2010 in uncategorized, when good wishes go bad | 4 comments

Wow.  I have a book due out in  three weeks.  The second volume of the As You Wish series, WHEN GOOD WISHES GO BAD, will be in stores on April 1.  You can read the first chapter here.

I have a secret.

I love this book, mostly because I had so much fun creating the characters.  Becca Morris, the main character, is a dramaturg — the resident "English major" for productions at her small theater company.  In order to learn more about what Becca does, I sent email to Akiva Fox, the dramaturg of our local, incredible, amazing Shakespeare Theater.  Akiva was wonderfully forthcoming about his day-to-day job; in fact, he asked me if I’d like to talk to two dramaturg friends of his (Sarah Wallace from the local Studio Theater and Miriam Weisfeld from Woolly Mammoth Theater Company), and he coordinated schedules for all three of the theater professionals.  I hosted dinner at my house, and barely resisted the urge to write down every single word that these great, giving dramaturgs had to say about their jobs, their theater companies, and their dream plays to stage.

In talking to Akiva, Sarah, and Miriam, I learned a tremendous amount about their profession.  Most importantly, I learned about some of the ethical concerns of dramaturgs, as they walk fine lines between developing new talent and becoming too involved with the personal lives of playwrights.  (Gee, how could that be useful in one of MY novels?!?)  My dinner with the dramaturgs set off waves of creativity as I massaged the plot for WHEN GOOD WiSHES GO BAD.  Becca, in the finished novel, owes many splinters of her personality to my dramaturg advisors.  I only hope that my book captures one one-thousandth of the enthusiasm that Akiva, Sarah, and Miriam have for their jobs. 

You can read more about dramaturgy here:  Wikipedia

Dramaturgs even have their own trade association, where they educate people about what they contribute to the productions we enjoy (as well as provide more information about who they are and what they do:  Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas

Dramaturgs have their own blogs, with names that sound like they could be one of my novels:  Confessions of a Catastrophe Connoisseur, Theater for the Future, and Dark Knight Dramaturgy.

I hope that you enjoy these glimpses into dramaturg-life as much as I have!

Mindy, amazed that Becca only has to wait a few more weeks before you get to know her too!

4 Comments

  1. Yay! I am so excited to read this book! Do you want to guest blog about it on my blog? We could run another contest like I did for Candace, if you like (since you know I am going to buy extra copies as usual).

    And I love the theater background…although it always makes me pine for my days on the stage (well, behind the stage, mostly).

  2. Yaaay! *eagerly watches her mailbox*

  3. Speaking as one dramaturg who does, in fact, keep a pencil in her hair…

    You have just become a hero to dramaturgs everywhere. We’re not a huge purchasing block, but we’re enthusiastic readers!

    Best of luck with your book; I can’t wait to read it!

    • Re: Speaking as one dramaturg who does, in fact, keep a pencil in her hair…

      ::grin::

      I hope that you enjoy it! (And that you don’t mind the inevitable liberties that I took with your profession! ::wry grin::)