Monday, December 2, 2013

The Question... Laurel Green, Dramaturg (playRites) on Collapsible

Collapsible playwright Emily Pearlman and dramaturg Laurel Green (left)

The Cheerleader/Drill Sergeant
by Estelle Rosen

Laurel Green is the Artistic Associate at Alberta Theatre Projects (ATP) in Calgary where she works in new play development and literary management for the company. As Production Dramaturg at ATP’s Enbridge playRites Festival of New Canadian Plays, Laurel’s credits include: a two-hander Bollywood musical (Same Same But Different), a new translation (You Will Remember Me), a hip hop musical (Ash Rizin), a Bacchanalian rock 'n roll cabaret (The God That Comes), and a new play by Joan MacLeod (The Valley). As a freelance dramaturg, she’s currently working on: The Distance Between You and I with Humble Wonder Theatre, and Attack of the Pine Beetles! with Evergreen Theatre. Laurel is an active board member for the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. You can follow her on Twitter @LGYYC 

CHARPO: How would you describe what a dramaturg does, and specifically related to this production?

GREEN: A dramaturg can serve many functions on a production, but a new play dramaturg (like me) works closely with the playwright while they are developing their piece. We read drafts, ask questions, listen closely and offer feedback to help the playwright realize their vision. This isn’t always an easy process so we are cheerleaders, therapists, drill sergeants, editors and drinking buddies, depending on what the project needs. 

Emily Pearlman and I started working together on Collapsible at the Banff Playwrights Colony last May. I was very interested in her writing so I jumped at the chance to come out and join her during her residency. After reading her early draft, we talked a lot about the unique world she was creating, the geography, the characters and the mythology that surrounds the story. Together we drew pictures, climbed mountains, drank wine and talked endlessly – sometimes about the play and sometimes about ourselves. Emily wrote two further drafts which we got to hear read by the Colony’s acting company.

Since Banff we have kept in touch. In August I put together a reading of Collapsible in my friend’s backyard where we served bundt cakes and read the play as the sun was setting. During the workshop and rehearsal process that Emily’s been undertaking in Ottawa she and I meet every few weeks via Skype to talk about how the storytelling has evolved to include all of the new information she’s learning working with a team on their feet. It’s been a fascinating, hilarious and really rewarding project to be involved in.

Every play a dramaturg works on is different, so one of the best parts about my job is how it constantly allows me to do and learn new things. It’s really impossible to get bored. 

Collapsible runs Dec. 11 - 15

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