Performance Research: On Dramaturgy

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, Du┼íka 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)