If you are following this blog you will remember my last post about production dramaturgy. Many people think that the work of a dramaturg ends once the show is up and running, but there is still work to be done. Some of the most fulfilling moments in my career have been post-show. Engaging the audience directly can take many forms such as lobby displays, program notes, talkbacks, and more.
The Lobby Display/Installation:
The first point of contact you make with the audiences as they enter the space. I am always drawn to interactive displays; something tactile that engages and informs. In the past I have enlisted the talents of visual artists to create a display that both speaks to the production and can stand on its own as an artistic experience.
Audience take-aways from No Man's Land: action cards designed to provoke thought and individual accountability. These cards were a special collaboration with Breaking White Silence / Artists Interrupting Racism.
Amid the bios and special thanks, these short inserts are a way for us to share source material. It’s about adding context, history, and offering a deeper look into the dramaturgical process. It’s not enough to hold your knowledge of the world of the play in your head; you must eventually place it in the hands of the audience. This requires the staunch collation of research and usually some fun graphics (timelines are my favorite).
For me, are about absorbing audience responses. If you’re lucky, other members of the creative team will join you, but as dramaturg you hold the room. Creating an environment that fosters communication and makes everyone feel comfortable enough to participate in the conversation is the mark of any great dramaturg.
Audience members at a post-show panel conversation curated by Lynde: "Inclusion in the Arts: How Ethnicity Impacts Storytelling." This was part of a series of events called Re-Frame Your Reference which occurred in tandem with our 2016 production, No Man's Land.
Also Blogging ;)
In today’s digital world there are so many more forms audience engagement can take. I have done live chats; encouraged audience members to tweet their responses, set up online forums to provide anonymity to those who don’t feel comfortable speaking publicly. And, of course, blogging proves to be a great way to share our experiences of the work, the process, and the feelings we are left with after the show.
Theatre, overall, is a shared experience. A dramaturg devises a multitude of ways we, as artists and theatre-goers, engage with each other. I find it essential to seek these connections and begin to break the fourth wall!
Thank you for following along with this series and I hope you find ways to incorporate devising techniques in your daily life.
Lynde Rosario is now the Literary Manager for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. You can see our most recent collaborations with Lynde this fall:
September 14 @ 7:30PM at The Kraine (NYC)
September 27-29 at the Scranton Fringe Festival (Scranton, PA)
THIS SINKING ISLAND
Tour of Washington Heights & Inwood, October 2018 (full details coming soon!)