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Copy of Dramaturgy in the High School Classroom
Transcript of Copy of Dramaturgy in the High School Classroom
AATE National Conference 2014 Denver, CO
The modern term of dramaturgy was coined by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. You could also consider Aristotle as the founder.
Role of Dramaturgs Internationally
Dramaturgs require skills in research, knowledge of history, literary history, theatre history, and the ability to become an expert in any area. They require the ability to synthesize information and present it in an understandable way. They need to constantly question and investigate. Dramaturgs have the capacity and flexibility to be employed in a variety of positions:
Resident Dramaturg at an established theatre company
Literary Manager, monitoring production history, cataloging plays, performing the responsibilities of a dramaturg.
Dramaturg at a college or university, often teaches courses and assists on production or serves as an adviser to student dramaturgs.
Dramaturg for ballet, opera, theatre, and expanding into fields as diverse as video game development.
The field is ever changing and adapting...
These websites can contain interactive activities, multimedia resources, embedded documents, as well as dramaturgical research packets available for download. Dramaturgical websites are increasingly becoming more popular for these reasons, as well as their ability to be transformed for marketing purposes or to serve as an online portfolio for the dramaturg.
Examples of Dramaturgical Implementation
PIOS: Playwrights In Our Schools, Utah. A project by AATE that offers a residency to playwrights at a high school. Opportunity to workshop, hold discussions, and help in developing new works.
AATE: Offers a contact list with new playwrights information on where you can reach them, as well as a list of critically acclaimed new plays.
LMDA: Offers "Mentor for a Day" program that match dramaturgy students to a working Dramaturg for an hour-long interview. Also, ECD Pen Pal.
Dramaturgs contextualize the world of the play: they
between the text, actors, production team, and audience; they
monitor the play structure
, and assist the playwright in developing their vision; they also serve to educate their communities and
about the plays of their company.
-one of my students
New Play Development
Assist the playwright in the development of a new play.
Promote discussion that is non-prescriptive, and allows the playwright room to discover or dig-deeper into the crux of their play
Serve as an ally of the work: monitoring the trajectory of the piece and any changes that occur, making sure the plot structure and meaning are not lost during the process.
Finally, establishing connections with new playwrights so as to promote new work at established theatre companies.
Research drafts and versions of existing plays
Collate, cut, track, edit, translate, rewrite, arrange the script to fit the needs of the production.
Provide context through songs, images, videos, games, stories, books, fashion, etc. Explore and present the world of the play, the world of the author, the production history, and relevant criticism.
Provide the production team members with research, serve as resource to all during the rehearsal process.
Create a lobby display, program note, organize and facilitate talk-back discussions.
fit in the
High School Curriculum?
Involves all of Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences
Image courtesy of Connections Academy online
Provides Opportunities for:
Gives students the opportunity to show you what they know. Utilizes their learning styles and learning needs (i.e. their multiple intelligences) and gives the student every chance to show you what they know and what they are able to do. Performance task assessment is an example of this.
In assessing what they know, the student discovers something new. Allows students an opportunity to teach each other, think introspectively about their own work, and achieve a higher level of thought.
Active participant; Period-style dance, performance or reading of a play from the time period, enactment of cultural interaction.
Researcher; reciting sermons, letters, readings, historical documents, continue to update research boards, provide relevant news and criticisms.
Create a website, analyzing period data, manipulate numbers, multimedia research, analyze graphs and statistics.
Card games, gather images and videos, create visual timeline, produce or analyze maps.
Learn and perform songs, or identify the music style of the time and share examples and significance, present lyrics, learn a relevant instrument, create a youtube video or a playlist of relevant music.
Implement techniques in relation to agriculture, cook a period dish.
Example Lesson: Dramatic Literature
Read through the play together. While reading, jot down in a visible place
any and all
questions that come up.
At the conclusion of the play, invite students to share what they were interested in about the world of the play; did something stand out that you would like to know more about? Write these down as well.
This step can also be 'carouselled', where topics are written at the top of a large piece of paper, and groups rotate from one to the next building on the previous questions. This involves moving past the initial responses and into a secondary level of thought.
Group similar questions and categories. Invite students to choose their category of interest or come up with their own. Have students devise a few more additional, more specific questions that they have for their topic before conducting research.
Allow students to present their research to the class in the form of their project.
This will allow multiple topics to be covered, each student's abilities to be incorporated, scaffolding on their knowledge of the subject with the presentations by their fellow classmates.
together as a class, and have students contribute when they find something relevant.
Provide a space, physical or online, for students to
post current news
relating to the subject.
Invite all students to produce an
, which can include everything from fashion designs, transportation, era-related pictures, quotes, documents, letters, data, charts, graphs, maps, anything.
(This can also be a bulletin board in the hallway!)
of terms, phrases, or unfamiliar concepts.
Research the author's background, the background of the play, where it was produced before and what that looked like, the time period of the play and the time period it was written, etc. Make a mock facebook or instagram account for the play with this information.
What was the pop culture of the time? What were the songs they listened to, the artists they would encounter, what was the popular dance style, what were they reading or hearing on the radio, what were the politics of this time? Learn and share these, or play the songs as they work on their projects.
Magazines and newspapers, even children's books of the time period, can tell a story about the world of the play.
By Megan Wittel
M.A. Theatre Education Candidate, Emerson College, Boston, MA
Drama Teacher at Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts, Hartford, CT
Pre-production Dramaturgical Website
They can contain embedded documents, and production packets
Interactive Educational Guides, that can also be downloaded
Theatres as large as the National Theatre of London offer a plethora of resources and educational guides