Use this blog to:


*Communicate with the rest of the collective by posting comments, queries, observations, anecdotes, discoveries, cries for attention, and information relevant to your production work, as you will. * Share the site address with your casts and crews - post links to your packets and dossiers. * Use the RSS feeds which link to a number of sites of interest to us, and suggest new ones. * Recruit people you know who might be interested in joining the program. *

Monday, November 29, 2010


Posted: Nicole Ogurek's online casebook for the School's upcoming production of Caryl Churchill's A NUMBER. Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lue Douthit Visit

On October 14, Dr. Lue Douthit [ ] visited the Collective. We ran her pretty ragged; an eleven-hour day of addressing dramaturgy, playwriting, and directing students. We learned a great deal about her work at Ashland. I'm asking students to post their reactions below.

Dramaturgy is like

Inspired by Brookly-based playwright Matt Freeman's blog entry, "Playwriting is Like" [see archive], I have perhaps imprudently created a bunch of my own.




Dramaturgy is like being that one scientist in the Godzilla movies who says “for god’s sake, don’t do that!” and then they do it and Godzilla destroys the city and everyone blames you anyway.

Dramaturgy is like throwing a rope to someone in quicksand who keeps saying “Quicksand? What quicksand?”

Dramaturgy is like leading a team of intrepid, fearless explorers into a deep dark cave for hours and hours and you turn around and no one is there.

Dramaturgy is like discovering, trapping and mounting a rare and exotic insect, spending years unlocking its secrets, and in so doing revealing valuable and wonderful lessons of life, and when you present the findings at the science conference everyone is horrified that you killed the insect.

Dramaturgy is like being in love with someone who is somehow never around when your friends want to meet her.

Dramaturgy is like finding a cure for a disease that no one is complaining to be suffering from.

Dramaturgy is like getting lost on your way to the map store.

Dramaturgy is like studying for years and years and then getting a terrible job which affords you the most meager existence possible and you are totally unappreciated and you wake up every day and you can't WAIT to go to work.

Dramaturgy is like being in a room where everyone is blindfolded except you, and you're gagged.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Midsummer Casebook


Another really excellent piece of work here from Anthea, supported by Clare and Zander. The online casebook for Midsummer's! In the blog feeds. Congrats, Midsummer team!


Dramatist Guild Roundtable on Dramaturgy in the American Theatre

Dear Ghostlighters,

We have been reading an article from The Dramatist, the publication of the Dramatists' Guild, of a Roundable that took place in 2002 about dramaturgy in the American theatre. Participants included Mark Bly, Anne Cattaneo, Liz Engleman, John Dias, Janice Paran, Oskar Eustis, Michelle Volansky, Edward Albee, Susan Birkenhead, Gretchen Cryer, Carol Hall, David Henry Hwang, Shirley Lauro, Emily Mann, Polly Pen, and Jeffrey Sweet. Everyone is invited to post comments here - questions, rants, raves, cries of anguish, diverse alarums, calls to war, whatever. Non-CMU readers, we'd love your thoughts as well.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Barbarous Nights Online Casebook

Dear Ghostlighters,

Corinna Archer's online casebook for Barbarous Nights, the new adaptation of the works of Frederico Garcia Lorca which she is executing with CMU director Sam Creely, is a really excellent piece. The Nights crew presented their research last night at the first rehearsal, and we will be watching the blog from here from now on. Check for updates as the rehearsal process progresses.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Author's Rights in the hypermedia age

The link below, provided by Professor Boevers, raises some interesting questions about an artistic life in the hypermedia era:

1) What are the rights of an author in a day when it is increasingly difficult to assemble anything like "privacy" or "secrecy?"

2) What is the value of the schadenfreude of being a total jerk online compared to someone else's enjoyment of discovering a piece of theatre as it was intended to be discovered?

All of this has close bearing on our work - I urge you to read and comment.

Wikipedia springs 'Mousetrap' ending - News, Gadgets & Tech - The Independent

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kendra Chapman in the news

An article about our own Kendra Chapman in the Black4Youth publication.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jamie Green, Dramaturg - Interview

Discovered on youtube; an interview with Jamie Green, Literary Manager and Dramaturg with MCC Playwright's Coalition. What do you think?


Michael Lupu Honored

This from Goeff Proehl.

I'm happy to share this news:

At the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Guthrie Theatre’s Board of Directors, Michael Lupu, senior dramaturg at the Guthrie received the Artistic Director’s Award from Joe Dowling.

Dowling, in presenting the award, noted Lupu’s unwavering commitment to artistic excellence in a career that has spanned thirty years.

In 2006, Michael received LMDA's Lessing Award for Lifetime Career Achievement.

* * *
Geoff Proehl, Theatre Arts, Univ. of Puget Sound, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma, WA 98416-1084; 253-879-3101 (office); 253-761-0804 (home); 253-370-2445 (cell);

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Writing a Play is Like...

This is a really funny post on the blog of Brooklyn-based playwright Matt Freeman.

I'll add my own from my own experience: writing a play is like dissecting a frog. It's a lot of difficult, nasty work and when you're done no one cares and the frog is still dead.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Carnegie Mellon Dramaturgs and Mac Wellman

I'm not sure if you guys saw this when it came out. Post Gazette article featuring Mac Wellman and our own Kate Goldstein (quoted) and Zander Miller (the back of his head, anyway).


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Orson Scott Card on the Tonys


I am interested to see what you all think about this article. Forwarded to me by Professor Boevers.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

From La Pocha Nostra - Guillermo Gomez-Pena


Guillermo Gomez-Pena is an astonishing performance artist, logothete, and philosopher, who will be joining us in December. I had posted an essay he wrote recently on "the Role of the Artist in the Obama Era" here for many weeks, but I have taken it down for space reasons. Please see for much much more from this great innovator.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Disney Making a New Turn?

Ok so Disney is famous for making cute sweet fairytales. What's got me excited is the new rumored movie Maleficent. Yes, that is the name of the villain from Sleeping Beauty. It is rumored to be a live action film (like the recent Alice...). Many are suspecting that Tim Burton is going to direct and Angelina Jolee has made it known that she wants to play the title role. Who would have thought Disney would take one of its most cherished classics and completely turn it on its head. A Villian's perspective? Especially if Tim Burton does this movie...its gunna be a bit trippy. The curious part about this story? There is no script written. Nothing. Nada. Just Speculations. Dramaturgs to the rescue?

here is a link to a site discussing a bit about the film and other possible Maleficent.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here we go...

South Park just couldn't help but play with fire (again). And this time they're getting quite an incendiary reaction:

And here's the episode (#200) in question that aired on April 14, 2010, "depicting" the prophet:

Interesting because a few years ago they DID actually depict the prophet and nothing happened. The episode above draws attention to that little fact and also comments on the overall "situation."

Lab A6 Podcast Recording for "Richard III"

Check out the Lab A6 podcast recording for Richard III, currently playing in the Chosky theatre at the Purnell Center for the Arts with designers Crystal, Danielle, Riley and Jordan, Gabe King, who plays Richard, and Corinna, the dramaturg. It will also be available on iTunes soon!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Richard III Talk Backs!

Come one, come all to the THREE post-show talk backs that will be held for Richard III!

Thursday, April 15th--After Preview in room 103
Tuesday, April 20th--The traditional Tuesday night talk back in the Chosky. Peggy Knapp is bringing all of her terrific Shakespeare students!
Monday, April 26th--After the 10am high school matinee performance. Find out what these kids have to say about the show, and if they did their homework and read my snazzy packet...

Also, look for the Lab A6 Podcast episode for Richard III that I recorded with Gabe, Crystal, Danielle, Jordan and Riley about our experience working on the show. Coming soon to iTunes!

Spread the word!

CMU dramaturgs shamanizing with Daily Show's John Oliver

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gender Identity

Proof that gender identity is, indeed, constructed:

NYT Ask a Theater Historian

Here's an interesting Q&A session the New York Times did with Marc Robinson, who is a professor of theater studies and English at Yale University and adjunct professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at the Yale School of Drama. Robinson answers various questions about American theatre -specifically what he thinks are influential plays and how he thinks European playwrights have inspired the writing of American plays.

Click on the links to read his answers and scroll down to read other questions that were posed as well.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Richard III Virtual Casebook Blog

Check out my production blog/virtual casebook/actor packet for our fast-approaching production of Richard III. Just follow this link! Read all about the context of the play, look at research images, find links to lots of Shakespeare websites and the Costume Designer's site, and keep up with developments as we move into rehearsal.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We give her more intellectual credit than she deserves...

And thats ok with me. This smarty pants writer makes Gaga and her team seem like champions of social commentary. Dramaturgs have the power to make a production way smarter (or at least seem way smarter) than the director ever intended it to be.
Audience Manipulation: Check.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Out-Brechting Brecht

Very interesting article in the NY Times today about a modern production of Caucasian Chalk Circle which, apparently, out-Brecht's Brecht:

Just thought I'd share!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

From the Center for Research into Expanded Dramaturgies

Performance Research: On Dramaturgy

February 3rd, 2010 3:04 pm

Performance Research, Vol 14, No 3 is dedicated to Dramaturgy, with contributions from Karoline Gritzner, Heike Roms, Hans-Thies Lehmann, Patrick Primavesi, Marianne Van Kerkhoven, Bruce Barton, Peter Eckersall, Fujii Shintaro, Takayama Akira, Hayashi Tatsuki, Duška Radosavljevic, Valentina Valentini, Dragan Klaic, Tim Etchells, Bojana Kunst, Phil Smith, Christian Biet, Katia Arfara, Christel Stalpaert, Martina Lenhardt, Esther Pilkington and Daniel Ladnar and further ’statements’ from others.
As you can tell from the list above, the issue is bulging at the seams and full of rich pickings. It won’t clarify what dramaturgy is – or rather, the dizzying number of implicit and explicit suggestions of what dramaturgy is or might be (let alone the dramaturg and setting aside divison into inter/actual dramaturgy, reception dramaturgy, embodied dramaturgy and so on) become something it seems best to enjoy, to find usefully provocative, rather than to resist. Here are a few, to whet your appetite:
Dramaturgy is or might be:
- above all a constant movement. Inside and outside. The readiness to dive into the work, and to withdraw from it again and again, inside, outside, trampling the leaves. A constant movement. (Van Kerkhoven)
- a systematic way to navigate the multiple, competing logics (dramatic, postdramatic, relational and performative) at work in a performance… (Barton)
- a matter of sequence and managed revelation across time. (Etchells)
- a conceptual deterritorialization, resulting from an encounter with a new bodily space (Stalpaert)
- nothing more (and nothing less) than putting things into order (Lenhardt)
- a method of uncovering the past and…a way of connecting the performance world with the everyday (Eckersall et al)
- an expanding field of tasks and skills, challenges and strategies (Gritzner, Primavesi and Roms)
- facing a challenge (Lehmann and Primavesi)
- tricky (Barton)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dramaturgy Promotional Video

Check this out! Molly's a better spokesperson for us than I am.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dramaturges: The Multitaskers

Sorry for the sudden spamming. I found another short article from "Goethe-Institut" on dramaturgs, their multiple uses in the theatre, and also some interesting summaries of dramaturgical work done to enhance German productions throughout the last sixty years or so. Some of it is review, but I did find the specific stories, such as of the dramaturgy done with "Rechlitz" and "Gertrud," to be interesting because it expanded my notion of what a dramaturg could do in specific productions. Also, some of the German "turges" mentioned here might be useful to do further research on.


Rehearsal, Performance, Dramaturgy – Bernd Stegemann about the Craft of Drama

Here's a short interview with Bernd Stegemann, former dramaturg for the Deutsche Theater in Berlin, who is currently Professor for Theater History and Dramaturgy at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts and head dramaturg at the Berlin Schaubühne.
I especially liked his opinion of the dramaturg's role during rehearsals. It is a strong opinion, yet I think also a justified one. I liked his general "acting suggestions" section and how a dramaturg reads a play on two levels to gain better insight on how to approach dramatizing characters and working with the actors who play them.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Results of a Racially Aware Nickelodeon

Children will be outraged when they learn that only black penguins are allowed in the zoo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CBS Super Bowl Women's Rights Fail

(Cross-posted on Straight Up Jank)
Read this story from The Nation about an anti-choice ad set to run during the Super Bowl. In it, some big football guy's mother talks about how her doctor recommended she abort her fetus, but she's glad she CHOSE to continue her pregnancy because the fetus eventually turned into a big football guy. 
While it's easy to see how this spot breaks new and unwelcome ground for the big game, the (more troubling) fact is that in many ways, the Tebow/Focus on the Family ad is just a new expression of a longstanding Super Bowl tradition in which women are valued only in direct relation to their usefulness to male athletes and fans. (emphasis mine)
The article puts the most recent Super Bowl Women's Rights Fail in the context of general football women's rights fails- the shitty representations of women in the commercials (either young sexually available hottie or shrewey bitch keeping you down) and the exclusive "boy's club" attitude of the games that oftentimes leads to violence against women who try to participate- as players, fans, and media.

Though women make up almost 40% of the Super Bowl's viewership, the ads seem to target men exclusively. So now women aren't only being sold as sex objects or obstacles standing between men and Dudely Bliss, but now we're also "hero incubators."
In light of new research revealing that about a third of women who report partner violence also report that their partners try to pressure them into pregnancy and motherhood (as do 15 percent of women who had never reported relationship violence), this male-targeted argument is particularly chilling. (emphasis mine)
So, yeah, feminists are pissed.

We're not afraid of engaging with the ad's content. The argument is not a super strong one against abortion- Hitler, Stalin, and Osama bin Laden all had mothers who chose life too. A baby born right now has a much higher statistical likelihood of being a rapist or murderer than any kind of famous person. Feminists do not have a hard time shooting that one down. Other, more on-the-surface reasons why the ad is really freakin' offensive:

1. Focus on the Family, one of the most right wing (and anti woman) organizations in the country, paid $3 million for it to be shown. An organization like Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro Choice America, or the National Network of Abortion Funds would use $3 million to help women. I'm just sayin'.

2. CBS denies "controversial" ads all the time. They've denied ads from, PeTA, and the United Church of Christ in the past, and just denied adspace for a gay men's dating website that would have aired during the upcoming Super Bowl. "Controversial" = liberal, apparently.

Not cool, CBS.

(Lots of info taken from this post by Jill on Feministe)


@Kendra Lee, fellow Ghost Light Forum-ers, & Lady Gaga fans:

Attached is a link to make-up artist Michelle Phan's tutorial on how to recreate Lady Gaga's wide-eyed girl in her "Bad Romance" music video.

It's amazing.

Enjoy :]


Welcome to Ghost Light

Welcome to the new online clearinghouse for the Ghost Light collective. Any member of the collective, present or past, is welcome to post. Anybody who is registered with google or OpenID can comment on the posts. I encourage visitors and authors to use this site to do the following:
  • Communicate with the rest of the collective by posting comments, queries, observations, anecdotes, discoveries, cries for attention, and information relevant to your production work, as you will. I will censor only for relevance to the collective's work, and to maintain a respectful attitude towards our fellows. Criticisms (of what theatre you are following, of what you are reading, of our nation's performance culture, of theory and history in general, and even of the program itself!) are always welcome!
  • Share the site address with your casts and crews - post links to your packets and dossiers.
  • Use the RSS feeds which link to a number of sites of interest to us, and suggest new ones.
  • Recruit people you know who might be interested in joining the program. 
I hope you enjoy and get good use out of this, and let me know how we can improve it as we go!