What is Dramaturgy? Some Answers From Our Members:
“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.”