Depending on how the company functions and how quickly she was assigned to the project, the dramaturg’s work can begin weeks or months before the production goes into rehearsal. The rule of thumb is simple: get in as early as possible. If dramaturgs are kept out of the prerehearsal process, as often happens when they do not press the director and production staff for earlier involvement, or when they get hired merely to handle formal responsibilities such as program notes and audience lectures, they are deprived of the capacity to make some of their most important contributions to the show. They will, moreover, spend the entire rehearsal process playing catch up. A dramaturg who has barely seen the performance script before first readthrough with the cast, for example, is at a tremendous disadvantage. The dramaturg may be called upon for advice or insight that she is not ready to give because she is not sufficiently familiar with the text (particularly if the director has made cutting choices already), and she will spend the first vital days of the process trying to get onto the same page as the director, longer if the two have not worked together before. All this is badly wasted time and tends to marginalize the dramaturg right off the bat, rendering her incidental to the show.
KeywordsAudience Member Artistic Director Program Note Rehearsal Process Script Editing
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