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May 21-27: Sarah (Sally) Ollove
May 21-27: Sarah (Sally) Ollove
Focus: “I'm at the tail end of one rehearsal process and the beginning of another, so most of my posts will be about that. A new musical by Michael Ogborn, Tulipomania goes into previews at the Arden this week and the first rehearsal for Hazard County, Allison Moore's play about perceptions of the South, was this morning. While I've been collaborating with Azuka on season-planning, this is the first production as part of my residency, as well as Azuka's first "New Professionals Production," in which Azuka Associate Artistic Director Allison Heishman and I mentor recent actor and designer grads through their first professional credit.”
Bio: Sarah (Sally) Ollove is a freelance dramaturg based in Philadelphia, PA. She holds an MFA in dramaturgy from The ART/MXAT Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. She has worked as a dramaturg in Philadelphia with Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, TheatreExile, Gas & Electric Arts, and, thanks to the 2012 LMDA Residency Grant, she is the dramaturg-in-residence at Azuka Theatre. Sally also teaches Shakespeare at Rowan University and is the co-Artistic Director of a new company, Radio Future, which produces radical re-imaginings of classic work.
Questions from LMDA:
What is your definition of dramaturgy?
“My definition of dramaturgy shifts depending on who I am talking to, where I am, and how much I feel like speaking. For example, when getting my hair cut, I usually say "it's like an editor for new plays." I also tend to cycle through metaphors--my current favorite comes from Philip Himburg at Sundance, who likened a good dramaturg to a good dinner party host: someone who introduces people sure to be great friends, asks questions sure to engage folks in sparkling conversation, steps in to move the party along when it stalls, and steps back when everything's running smoothly.
On a brass tacks level, I see three major areas of dramaturgy, and they rely on my understanding of every play as a trip into the brain of a playwright. So I use the language of exploration: 1) First Contact: identifying promising terrain and relaying what I've discovered to interested parties. 2) Reconnoitering: Having landed, identifying areas of uncertainty and questioning, as well as areas of promise and future development. Making sure that everyone in the exploratory party remains in contact, even as we spread out to pursue different discoveries. 3) Cataloguing: bringing all that great world-exploring stuff and synthesizing it for audiences, staff members, and future readers and producers to allow them to follow in the footsteps of the production team as they want.”
What is your favorite project?
“Almost always the one(s) I'm currently working on. Right now, I'm in the middle of developing two pieces I'm very excited about for my company, Radio Future. One Wars & Whores is a folk-musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV Pt 1 sure to get toes a-tappin'. Song titles include "Make Love From a Horse," "Talking Richard Two Two-Timing Blues," and "Honour with a U(ke)." The other is an adaptation of Romeo & Juliet that launches from my interest in two characters whose actions have always puzzled me: the Nurse and the Friar-- two lonely older people who should know better but get swept up by their own ideals.”