Sometimes dramaturgy stops feeling like theater. I’m not complaining. Sometimes I don’t want to think about theater, to be perfectly honest. Arguably, it isn’t all that healthy to think about fictional worlds constantly, and I am happy to live on that research/writing-bridge between reality and fantasy.
As I write this, my fingers feel free because I’m not restrained in what I write. Stoppard’s Rock ’n’ Roll, which we are doing right now, has a line about how censorship is not always as obvious as someone telling you not to write something. You don’t write something because you understand that the consequences of what you write will not be favorable. No one tells me not to write in sentence fragments filled with comma splices in the study guides we produce for our mainstage shows: I don’t write in sentence fragments because I want to be perceived as a professional writer. A professional writer worth keeping on the payroll during this economically troubling times.
Of course, the content of this blog—as I continue to understand what its purpose is in that murky land between personal and professional (Timothy Douglas, who is directing our third year MFA students in Robert O’Hara’s Good Breeding challenges his actor before each rehearsal to understand what their creative selves are contributing to the world)—is not free from self-censorship. I have warned myself to stay positive about specific happenings at work or with local plays and writers, and when I see value in being critical, I will try to mask that negativity in ambiguity. It is interesting being employed in theater. And by interesting I mean precarious; interesting just as I would assume balancing a 100 feet in the air on a length of wire is interesting to an aerialist.
Lately, I have been doing a lot of writing for the study guide of our next mainstage show, Jane Anderson’s The Quality of Life. Writing and editing. And, at the same time, producing a program for Good Breeding, which I insisted should have dramaturgical pages devoted to explaining the House of Atreus (because who knows about those poor bastards except people who took Latin in high school and classical studies majors) and a glossary of the Greek gods (because one never tires of hearing about how screwed [see! self-censorship!] fucked up those deities were.) And dramaturgical pages I was granted! Extra work doesn’t bother bosses so long as you’re the one putting in the extra hours.
So this was a week of working in a theater without dealing with anything that would resemble theater to Joe Six-Pack (another Palinism from the VP debate that I am going to adopt: I am of the all-of-the-above approach. LOVE IT! Because you know when you were most likely to check the all-of-the-above bubble on an exam? When you don’t know the darn answer!). Actually, the debate was about as close the a theatrical event as I got.
Although I did almost walk in on a fight call to drop off drafts of bios for the stage manager to pass around to the cast of Good Breeding. Thankfully Electra grabbed my arm before I opened the door: “You can’t go in there. You’ll get hurt,” she said as only a true classical tragic-heroine would.
And back to my books I scurry.