Ghost Light is the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Production Dramaturgy Program at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama. The "Ghost Light" model of dramaturgy is a muscular, critically engaged, artistically vibrant approach to dramaturgy that requires thorough historical understanding, theoretical training broad and deep, and a passionate dedication to creating powerful, relevant performance of all types.
Use this blog to:
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. *
The new school year has begun! Ghostlighters, please make sure you are on the dramaturgy D-List for the School of Drama. Check here for updates on important events, job postings, digital casebooks, and general conversation on topics relevant to our work.
This weekend I was privileged to join the families of Rose Sengenberger (09) and Adam Spencer at the occasion of their wedding at the Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a lovely ceremony and reception; also in attendance was Brianna Allen (09). Congratulations, Rose and Adam!
This from Marion Young at the Civilians, who are friends of the CMU SoD.
Below is a job posting for a project coordinator position with The
Civilians. Please pass along to any that may be interested. For more
information, e-mail managing director Marion Young: firstname.lastname@example.org
*The Bogota Project*
*US Project Coordinator:*
The Civilians seeks a Project Coordinator for its upcoming project, working
title the Bogota Project. The Civilians is developing an original musical
inspired by the real life annual beauty pageant in El Buen Pastor Women’s
Prison, the national women’s prison in Bogotá, Colombia. The Civilians will
go inside the prison in Bogotá for four weeks in September, 2011 to conduct
research and interviews with the participating and non-participating
inmates, guards, prison staff, judges, and pageant coaches. The research and
interviews will be used to shape a new musical with a book by Academy
Award-nominated playwright José Rivera and songs by the Colombian rock band
Based on a process developed by The Civilians over ten years, the
Investigative Phase will involve Colombian artists conducting interviews in
Bogotá. At the end of this first Phase, the creative team will synthesize
all of the material, creating a work to be developed in partnership with the
Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the Iberoamericano Festival de Teatro en
The position of Project Coordinator will have two main purposes: The first
is to support the organization and coordination of the Investigation Phase
in partnership with Ella Fuksbrauner, the Colombian-based Project
Coordinator. In this capacity, the Project Coordinator will be the main
point of communication between Colombia and The Civilians’ Brooklyn offices,
confirming that the required interviews are taking place, that all necessary
information is passed along on both sides, and keeping full documentation of
all the interviews that are conducted for future tracking. Additionally,
the Project Coordinator will assist Artistic Director Steve Cosson in
researching important interview leads, the history of the pageant, and any
other research requested by the participating artists.
Secondly, the US Project Coordinator is responsible for the organization,
documentation, and tracking of all of the interviews and related
transcripts. The Coordinator will be a point person in communicating
between José Rivera and Aterciopelados about what interview transcripts they
need as the play’s development takes place and for ensuring that all
transcripts, interview releases, and audio is accounted for.
The position will begin in mid-August and will be a part-time four-month
position through mid-December. Salary is competitive and will be based on
number of hours available. Applicants must be bilingual in Spanish and
English, should have experience with both administrative positions as well
as research-based and dramaturgy work. Applicants of color are strongly
Please send a cover letter and resume, including three references to Marion
Young at email@example.com.
This is a message from the Dramaturgy discussion list, a service of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA).
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Good news and bad - Cal did not get the uber-scholarship, but still has the significant rewards of the first round. Good news is that she is interning at Northwestern, where she is involved with the Black Feminist Performance Institute, where she worked with my friend and former CMU colleague Stephanie Batiste. Cal has also been invited into Phi Beta Kappa (a year earlier than most).
Clive Thompson, who I believe is the same admirable wit who logged THIS conversation with a spambot, penned a dramaturgical reply in the article above.
I find this whole affair to be, really, like any train wreck - it's only enjoyable if you are a long distance away. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, "never argue with a twit; passers-by won't be able to tell the difference." But I'd love to know what you guys think about this.
Breanna Zwart (who dramaturged our production of PIANO LESSON) has just informed me that she has accepted a position with the US Treasury working in the Office of the Executive Secretary. Her main duty is preparing daily briefing materials and correspondence for Secretary Geithner.
Here is a packet I recieved from the pony express from the Ghostlight outpost in Baltimore. Notice how she thinks I'm as intelligent as Gavin Witt - HA! Anyway:
>> On Tuesday, I met with Gavin Witt, the resident Dramaturg and Julianne
>> Franz the education/outreach director, it was amazing! Gavin reminds me
>> alot of you, laid back but very intelligent. We just talked about how I
>> kind of fell into dramaturgy. We talked about my casebook and we talked
>> about the dramaturgy curriculum. He was very impressed with it all. He
>> even wrote down the name of your textbook. Julianne Franz is making my
>> experience at Centerstage an official Internship and Witt often
>> referred to it as an apprenticeship! So, I am very excited. I get keys
>> to the theatre and an official tour on Tuesday.
>> I will be working there Tuesdays and Thursdays for about five hours
>> each. I get an office (that doubles as their casebook library, very
>> cool). I will be helping the fellow read play submissions and doing
>> script coverage, maintaining their blog, helping him do research on one
>> of the upcoming productions the next season. Because I am an official
>> intern the other interns in the various departments and I will be in
>> charge of picking three plays out a play festival/contest that they hold
>> for kids. As the Dramaturg intern, I have to review the plays and
>> present my picks and their dramaturgical value. There was talk of me
>> talking to sixth graders about what dramaturgy is and why it is a great
>> field. I also might help do summer camp for a week. I am very pleased.
>> My first assignment is to do two script analyses on two new play
>> Wish me luck,
>> Alesia Etinoff
Here's one more; King's College.
Please forward to any interested students.
The School of Arts and Humanities at King’s College London is pleased to offer one full studentship to a candidate entering the MA Theatre and Performance Studies in 2011-2012. Applications are due June 15th. For information on the program and how to apply, please see
Dr. Kélina A. Gotman
Lecturer, Theatre and Performance Studies
Department of English
King's College London
Strand WC2R 2LS
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7848 1773
MA Theatre and Performance Studies
A new program at RADA, where Matt Gray studied, for scholars. Those of you newly graduated or looking to graduate - have a looksie.
------ Forwarded Message
From: Juri Nael
Reply-To: "Theatre History Discussion List - Amer. Soc. for Theatre Research"
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2011 08:57:04 -0500
Subject: NEW!!! MA Theatre Lab at RADA
September 2011 will see the introduction of a pioneering new postgraduate course at the Royal
Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) - MA Theatre Lab.
After three years of development RADA has initiated this MA that is aimed at training performers
who wish to extend their craft, help sustain the sector, and have a desire to experiment with the
concepts and theories at the basis of performance practice in the western hemisphere.
MA Theatre Lab will base its training on the work of practitioners in the post-Stanislavski era. It
will offer an arena for both the improvement and attainment of skills and for the development of
new ways of working, especially within the context of a group. It is aimed particularly at those
actors and performers who are involved in ensemble, collective and/or physically-based work but
who also want to hone and develop their skills.
This is a time when theatre, along with other art forms, is faced with the threat of cuts that may
lead practitioners to resort to more conservative content or ways of working and be discouraged
from experimentation and new work. The ambition of MA Theatre Lab is to use the present
conditions to encourage the formation of new working practices and groups that will reinvigorate
the profession and practitioners with energy, ideas and thought-provoking work.
MA Theatre Lab will be a full-time intensive one-year course validated by King‚s College London.
The course timetable is structured so that it will offer the opportunity for students to continue
working in order to support their studies. There will be an emphasis on practical learning with
time given for students to reflect critically upon their work, as well as acting and performance
generally. Students will gain new insights as well as developing a wide range of skills to generate
valuable, innovative and collaborative contributions for the sector.
For more information on the entry requirements for this course and to apply, please visit the RADA
Alesia Etinoff, a mid-year transfer to the program, apparently cold-called Centerstage in Baltimore and landed a summer internship with uber-dramaturg Gavin Witt. Congrats, Alesia, and thanks, Gavin, for your continued support of our students.
As some of you may know, the School of Drama junior Catherine Rodriguez has been awarded an extremely prestigious "Gold Standard" scholarship, sponsored by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Bacardi Gold, and the National Basketball Association. The award is for an astonishing $10,000, and Catherine is very deserving of this honor, but she is eligible for a further $30,000 scholarship awarded to four of the scholars, as determined by online public voting on the NBA website.
Voting will take place May 16-30, 2011, at http://www.nba.com/goldstandard/video.html.
If only this award were determined by merit, Catherine would be a shoe-in, but it is a popularity contest, which I suppose is how the corporations make up their back-end on something like this. That said, I think this is a good cause, and I want to urge everyone who receives this letter to spend a couple of seconds casting a ballot for Catherine.
Of course these are the awards named for Antoinette Perry which nevertheless use the masculine "Tony" as the universally recognized name for the awards as opposed to "Toni," presumably the nickname that Ms. Perry would have used.
Check out this article with some friends of the program. Note the quote from Jerry Patch, who "has now seen the evolution in the dramaturgy field from it really being true in the 1960s and 1970s that “no kid every grew up wanting to be a dramaturg” to observing in recent years that young people actually hold the goal of becoming a dramaturg."
On Thursday we are honored to host Susan Jonas as a visiting artist. Susan Jonas has worked as a performer, director, producer, dramaturg, translator, adaptor, administrator, fund-raiser, grant-maker, scholar and educator. Currently on faculty at New York University, she teaches courses in dramaturgy and the work of women in theatre. She has held leadership positions at several New York theatres, including The Acting Company, CSC, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Rushmore Theatre Festival and Classical Theatre of Harlem. She is the co-editor of what we call "the brown book," Dramaturgy and American Theatre, which is one of the most significant texts written about dramaturgy in the last 50 years. She is a contributor to American Theatre and other publications, and currently editing an anthology surveying classics by women, with essays by major contemporary theatre artists. During her decade as an Arts Analyst in the New York State Council on the Arts Theatre Program, she created initiatives that included Student No Rush, and, with Suzanne Bennett, a three-year national study on the status of women in theatre, which culminated in a widely-disseminated report. Dr. Jonas has taught at numerous universities and professional training programs, and her adaptations have been produced by The Acting Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Lincoln Center Institute and Manhattan Theatre Club's Writers-in-Performance. She holds a doctorate in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama, and is a board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.
Professor Jonas will be joining Dramaturgy 2, which meets 12-1:20 in CFA 103. All dramaturgy students and playwrights are welcome. We will have another less formal event in the afternoon, space and time TBA.
Several people have given me feedback about how "unoptimized" this blog is. Well, duh, I know that! This is my first blog - hey, I'm forty, my high-tech training was on VCR's. So plans are in the works to get someone who actually understands such things to help us overhaul it. In the meantime, I believe that the best use of these blogs is to archive the digital casebooks for the various shows, and update people on cool things that happen in the program. But soon, optimization will occur!
John Wells, perhaps the most famous and successful alum of Carnegie Mellon, has for the past five years been a staunch supporter of our fledgling dramaturgy program. He sat down with our majors on a visit Thursday, before a ceremony celebrating his transformational gift to the School. He answered our questions about the centrality of dramaturgy to the creative process of performance in not only theatre, but television and film as well, as the basis for solid storytelling, even as he lamented the rash of writers he encounters who are adept at mimicking successful pop-culture products but have no idea how to generate katharsis or pathos. That's where dramaturgy comes in, he explained.
Not only is John the most prolific giver to the School of all time, not only is he deeply knowledgeable about every aspect of performance storytelling from electronics to carpentry to lighting to costumes to dramaturgy to scriptwriting, but he is also a genuine human being, accessible, kind, funny, and tirelessly curious about the pedagogy and life of the School. It was a pleasure to have him. On behalf of our program, thanks, John!
The latest feed uplink is to Kendra Lee's digital casebook for LULU, by Wedekind, upcoming in the Rauh theatre, directed by Josh Gelb. As I've said before, I am a huge fan of Wedekind but it's so rare to see him done well (if at all). Kendra's casebook proves what a dramaturg can do when she combines rigorous scholarly discipline and deep understanding of theoretical approaches to a passionate and critical engagement to a text.
The Collective was honored to host Jack DePalma this week as a distinguished guest. Jack is the Creative Director for the National Arts Management Company. Jack has been a major force in the development of some of the US's most well-known productions, including Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Seussical, Wonderful Town, Sweet Charity and This is Our Youth to fruition from the initial developmental phases through to opening nights. He has supervised the translation of the Chicago script into various languages for production around the world. Jack also was Play Development Director at the Old Globe in San Diego (one of America's flagship regional theatres) where he worked closely with the executive producer, Lou Spisto in planning their seasons. Among the productions were Duncan Sheik’s Whisper House, Leslie Bricusse’s Sammy and the Broadway bound musicals The First Wives Club and Robin and the 7 Hoods. Jack was also the casting associate for the feature films Nighthawks, King of Comedy, Author! Author!, Yentl, Once Upon a Time in America and The Last Temptation of Christ.
Jack spent Thursday with us and ran the Carnegie Mellon gamut, providing a Q&A for the After Lab crew of directors and playwrights to answer questions about production in the big leagues. He then conducted a detailed script coverage workshop with the dramaturgy majors. Afterwards, he sat in on Showcase rehearsals and met with a group of students interested in pursuing the Creative Director career track, an exciting field of opportunity for people with 'turgical skills.
We thank Jack for taking the time to share his experience with us!
Crazytown is another theatre blog that I follow which covers a wide range of topics as seen by an equally wide range of theatre artists. This post provides a brief consideration of some of the subverted themes in a variety of Disney movies, from feminism to racism and quite a few things in between. Although these specific examples do not go into much detail, they provide a good starting point for a theoretical critique of these movies.