"The play is the thing!" Hamlet shouts in the famous play by William Shakespeare.
And you can be sure that any dramaturg would agree with those words.
Dramaturgs are play and screenplay specialists. They can be involved in
historical research. They can adapt novels for the stage or screen, translate
plays or give directors and actors advice on how to interpret a script.
Dramaturgs analyze text that will be used to stage a play. They research
how the play was interpreted in other productions. They do historical research
to make sure costumes, language and sets are appropriate to the period of
the play. They are able to answer any questions that may arise from the script.
Dramaturgs analyze the actual text in the play. Is this play a good one?
That's what dramaturgs might ask when evaluating and assessing a new play.
Dramaturgs sometimes work directly with playwrights, advising them on their
Dramaturgs can perform a variety of other duties, such as acting as a liaison
between the director and the playwright. They might translate scripts, act
as the official representative of the theater, write program notes and help
with play selection.
Dramaturgs can work in a variety of settings. Some are institutional dramaturgs
who work full time at large theaters. Others are university professors who
work for a variety of theater productions. Still others work on a freelance
basis, moving from project to project.
Full-time dramaturgs generally work Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. However,
some evening work is required for things like assessing performances.
"In some instances, a dramaturg might not leave until 11 p.m., but it isn't
like the life of an actor who spends a lot of time working in the evening,"
says Geoff Proehl. He is a dramaturg in Tacoma, Washington.
Dramaturgs may use computer databases and visit libraries to compile research
information. This isn't a job that requires much physical activity.