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2014 Young Voices Monologue Festival: What, exactly, is a dramaturg?
With Kate McGrath
Young Playwrights’ Resident Teaching Artist Kate McGrath wears many hats: she is an educator, playwright, and dramaturg, whose work for--what’s that, you say?—what is a dramaturg?
As part of the Young Voices process, winning student playwrights work closely with a director, professional actors, and a dramaturg to develop their work and to prepare it for performance.
An elusive position, a dramaturg—like Kate—is a wearer of many hats. Since it is a crucial part of the Young Voices process and a unique opportunity for our student playwrights to experience the development of new work, we asked Kate, who is one of three dramaturgs working with students for Young Voices, to explain her role as a dramaturg to find out what exactly that means for the process of taking Young Voices page to the stage.
What is your role as a dramaturg in the Young Voices process?
I’m an advocate for the playwright, and for the work itself. In the wonderful collaborative world of new play development, many opinions are solicited and come from directors, designers, producers, actors and even the playwright’s own family or friends! Many weigh in about revisions, strengths and weaknesses. A dramaturg’s job (for Young Voices) I think is to assist a monologuist in considering these multiple points of view, and consider revision, but also maintain the integrity and strength of the piece as it was originally written.
By: Emma Martin
This past weekend, I had the privilege of visiting my mentor, Quiara Hudes, and seeing her magnificent play at 2nd Stage Theater, The Happiest Song Plays Last. The weather was perfect for walking around New York City. We started with a tour of the theater and the stage. The set was beautiful and intriguing - foreshadowing of the story that would unfold there in just a few hours. Quiara described the Chicago set of her play, which was entirely different. It’s amazing how many different perspectives there are for a single work of art. Then, we got lunch at a diner and discussed what I was working on. Personally, nothing stretches out my writing cramps like talking about what I’, trying to write. Being able to express my ideas with Quiara made them seem more real, and more possible. It was refreshing and exactly what I needed. We stopped by a delicious bakery, and then we were off to the theater. I love seeing plays because the audience all laughs and cries together. It is at once a collective and individual experience. Quiara’s story was certainly a fulfilling experience. It tackled a wide range of existential issues, including love, forgiveness, and legacy. I am so grateful to have had this experience. Knowing people like me, people who breath art like oxygen, is what keeps me going.
Paula Vogel Mentors Project is made by possible by the generous support of the Independence Foundation New Theatre Works Initiative, the Nessa Forman (& Family) Fund at The Philadelphia Foundation, and Honorary Producers, Virginia & Harvey Kimmel.
Saturday, March 1st was the culminating performance for our collaboration with Theatre Horizon serving young adults in the autism spectrum. The classes helped students develop social skills, verbal expression, empathy for others, and a sense of self worth and accomplishment.
“I was touched to see how skilled your teachers are at working with this population. PYP is an inspiration, and a Philadelphia treasure.” -Erin Reilly, Artistic Director/Theatre Horizon
Tiny Toons: The Last Day of School by Alex Faker