Editor's Note

By O'Quinn, Jim | American Theatre, March 2009 | Go to article overview

Editor's Note


O'Quinn, Jim, American Theatre


WHO IS THIS ISSUE OF AMERICAN THEATRE FOR? ALL OF US, naturally--but it may be of particular interest to dramaturgs. Stop! Did that observation tempt you to toss the magazine aside with the expectation that you'd thumb through it again when you'd finished cleaning out your in-box, or maybe when "Saturday Night Live" goes into reruns? Get a grip: Dramaturgy, its associations with pedantry and esoterica notwithstanding, can make for enlightening, even exhilarating, journalism! As Liz Engelman, the Minneapolis dramaturg who served as president of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas in 2004-06, has been known to quip: "It's not a disease. Dramaturgy is the study of dramatic structure."

And the examination of dramatic structure, the writers in this issue are eager to show you, can be both illuminating and, well, inherently dramatic (read: exciting, suspenseful). In his cover story on 33 Variations, for example--tracking playwright Moises Kaufman's twisty creative journey from a germinal encounter in Tower Records to an imminent opening on Broadway (page 36)--dramaturg extraordinaire Mark Bly conveys how this already widely lauded drama accrued, layer by layer, over almost five years of collaborative effort. As he squires you through Kaufman's multifaceted writing process, try counting the names Bly mentions as vital contributors to the life of the play: scholars, company members, actors, designers, musicians, technicians, leaders of theatre institutions, friends of friends--they number in the dozens, contradicting at every turn the conventional image of the solitary playwright tapping away at the keys of his computer in a lonely room. …

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