What’s In a Name?

Photo by Daniel Haley

This week rehearsals began for This Random World (TRW) by Steven Dietz. FINALLY! It’s my first time in rehearsals as a dramaturg. For my previous project I only assembled a research packet for the director, David Lee-Painter (DLP).

DLP is also directing TRW. The packet’s done. I wrote it up last summer for the design team to have. DLP asked me to make a few remarks at the first rehearsal. Below are some excerpts.


One of the things that immediately struck me about Dietz’s script is how much we miss when we’re narrowly focused on our own lives. We can be oblivious to the roles we play in others’ lives. It only takes a slight shift of focus to bring different things to light or see old things as if new.

The idea of randomness also resonated with me. We, as creatures on this planet, are trying to control our world and that belief of control is very important. It can humbling to discover how much is really just randomness or dumb luck at work.

The second title or subtitle of This Random World is: “The Myth of Serendipity.” My friend Rob Snyder and I were talking about myth and how I remembered it being a greater truth and not a lie. Rob pursued this further, saying that myth is actually a truth manifested as story. A narration. This Random World looks for the truth of serendipity. Some of its characters visit the Forest Where Lies are Revealed. It is by revealing lies that we are brought closer to the truth.

When I first started researching TRW, I thought the second title referred to serendipity as a myth. But I’ve come to believe Dietz is using it to comment on the main title. This Random World is a myth of serendipity. I still find myself ruminating on the difference between the two and what the greater truth of serendipity is.

Dietz has crafted a compelling story and at the same time has dismantled it by denying scenes where we expect certain characters to meet. This puts us in & out of the story at the same time—like Schrödinger’s cat. It permits us to study the world he has created and juxtapose it with our own.

As Dietz once wrote one of theatre’s most profound gifts are participation and reflection. This Random World gives us plenty of opportunities to do that.

Image by Dan Lurie, Schrodinger’s lolcat. Credit to Justin Wick for the idea, and Kevin Steele for the photo.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dantekgeek/522563155

The Clean House: Purity & Danger

Photo by Daniel Haley

Riffing off Sarah Ruhl, my posts on dramaturgy are not necessarily faithful descriptions of my process but rather views of certain aspects of it from just to the left of the experience. 

After The Three Keys of Captain Hellfire opened my director, David Lee-Painter (DLP) asked if I would dramaturg his next project, This Random World by Steven Dietz in the fall. The idea of researching someone else’s play was vaguely terrifying. I knew nothing about how to do it. In the past, I would’ve fled. This time I said, “Yes.”

So it was that I began learning dramaturgy and researching The Clean House.

One of the fun parts of researching Ruhl’s The Clean House is that I got to bust out a couple of my anthropology books that I haven’t touched since grad school. On this post I wanted to share some of Mary Douglas’ text Purity & Danger which uses beliefs on purity to compare different religions.

For her purposes, Douglas defines dirt:

If we can abstract pathogenicity and hygiene from our notion of dirt, we are left with the old definition of dirt as matter out of place. ….It implies two conditions: a set of ordered relations and a contravention of that order. Dirt then, is never a unique, isolated event. Where there is dirt there is system. Dirt is the by-product of systematic ordering and classification of matter, in so far as ordering involved rejecting inappropriate elements….[For example, s]hoes are not dirty in themselves, but it is dirty to place them on the dining table.

Douglas continues:

“There is no such thing as absolute dirt: it exists in the eye of the beholder….Dirt offends against order. Eliminating it is not a negative movement, but a positive effort to organize the environment.”

These ideas are reflected in The Clean House where Lane expects order. Activities within her home must follow a routine or a system. Virginia, Lane’s sister, see cleaning (organizing the environment) as progress.

Beliefs about pollution are used within societies to influence behavior through social pressure. These implied perils are intended to keep would-be offenders within accepted norms of behavior (Douglas). To step outside of these boundaries causes the transgressor to enter a transitional state.

“Danger lies in transitional states, simply because transition is neither one state nor the next, it is undefinable. ….The theme of death and rebirth [transitional states], of course, has other symbolic functions: the initiates die to their old life and are reborn anew (Douglas).”

Transitional phases for Matilde are seen when she is mourning and the scene of her birth. For her mother when she dies. For Ana, her surgery—a liminal state where you are neither living nor dead—and then when Ana dies. Lane’s old life dies and a new one is born.

Cleaning is also a method of control.

It’s not uncommon for people in transition to be quarantined, shunned or marginalized (Douglas). Marginalized people are also outcasts who sometimes live near those who have banished them. Matilde is an immigrant, a lower-class worker, and speaks a language none but Ana understands. Ana is also in transition and marginalized at first for breaking up Lane’s marriage and later during her struggle with cancer until the other women readmit her into society.

In the second act, cleaning becomes cleansing. More juxtaposition abounds here. The cleansing needed for Lane’s ordered and sterile world requires that all become dirty. The ripples of her husband’s affair into her life rain down as apple cores. Her sister physically makes a mess in the living room during an argument. And when Ana’s cancer returns, her polluted body is brought into Lane’s home. It is there Ana prepares to end her transitional state and, in the process, cleanses the other women. In a neat reverse, after Ana clutters their lives with the messiness of being alive, they clean her body which is now out of its transitional state (Al-Shamma, Heller, Schmidt).

From clean to messy to cleanse, the women learn “to accept the chance collisions of life, the pull of desire, and the inevitability of death (Heller).”

Lines from an early poem of Ruhl’s called “Advice from a Father to His Daughters”:

But have a good tantrum once in a while –
throw a bowl of olives against the wall.
Then conjure grace and drink plenty of tea”

Both the play and the poem recognize that a mess is a part of the process of confronting our deep-seated fears of disorder. Something deeper is at work here as well, as the play’s conclusion reveals: a cleansing mess is a step on the path to letting go of the world more completely (Heller).

Al-Shamma, James Zuheir, “Grief and Whimsy in the Plays of Sarah Ruhl,” dissertation, UC-Santa Barbara, 2008.
Heller, Jennifer, “To Follow Pleasure’s Sway: Atomism in Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House,” Modern Drama, Volume 60, Number 4, Winter 2017.
Schmidt, Heidi, “Sarah Ruhl’s Women: Gender, Representation And Subversion In The Clean House, Eurydice And In The Next Room, Or The Vibrator Play,” dissertation, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2010.

The Runaways’ Story

“Queens of Noise the REAL story of the Runaways,” that title is ample warning to the reader for what lies ahead. A sensationalized story about a band of teen rockers. The book is enjoyable in the main and my complaints settle around how McDonnell chose to tell the story of this barrier-shattering group.

Queens of Noise is a follow-up to McDonnell’s thesis on Runaways drummer, Sandy West. For this book McDonnell takes us back again to the Sunset Strip in the 1970s with its proto-punk scene. It was fertile soil for the all-female rock band that Sandy played in. It’s a story that interests me. I grew up with Joan Jett’s music and had heard hints of the fabled band that she started, which included heavy metal guitarist, Lita Ford. I was onboard.

I wanted it to be exhaustive, but the book fell short. Some of the band members declined to be interviewed, forcing McDonnell to rely heavily on previous magazine and newspaper articles, and Vicki Blue’s (another Runaway) documentary, “Edgeplay.” The first-hand accounts come primarily from the Runaways bassists and Kim Fowley, the band’s notorious manager, and the people around the group during the three or so hectic years of its existence.

There was one person I didn’t expect to be included in the Runaways’ story and that was McDonnell. Working primarily in an opinionated style reminiscent of ‘70s New Journalism, she comments on every player in the story even describing a music critic of the day as a “sh*tty writer” without offering anything to back up her opinion. Her subject would have been better served by not inserting herself into the narrative. The block quotes she included from interviews are enthralling and would have been much more effective with only minor editorial comment.

Her description of ‘70s LA evokes a curious version of the sinner/saint idolizing of women that flourished then. It was a dichotomy where few female rock groups could find success. Placing the Runaways in its milieu of the hedonistic Sunset Strip gives clarity. These straightforward passages, untainted by opinion, were where I found some of the best writing.

Before long, McDonnell focused on the Runaways through her own lens of understanding. It is a viewpoint that is not insightful and at times reads like a fan thwarted access to her idols.

She does address the myth that they were a confectionary out of Fowley’s fevered mind. While affirming that the young women created the band with Fowley’s help, McDonnell continually lists everything Kim Fowley did for them.

The band was never allowed to be the subject of its own story but always the object. McDonnell even uses them as objects in her book. She dwells over imagery about Lita Ford’s tight clothes. According to McDonnell, Ford’s shorts were snug enough that part of her reproductive anatomy was in public view. She repeatedly mentions how pretty they were, imagines the reactions of the primarily male audiences, and describes guitarist, Joan Jett’s “sweaty grinding” on a bandmate. These short anecdotes are included for no other reason than prurient interest. One despairs that the Runaways will never be able to run away. Instead they find themselves trapped in another gilded cage to be adored, admired, and defined by others.

Errors or editing gaffs in the book are glaring. For instance, claiming that the Runaways opened for Metallica before Metallica had a formed left me wondering which band she meant. Listing Jett’s role in The Rocky Horror Show as “Columbine” instead of “Columbia.” Strange nouns or verbs muddled what McDonnell wanted to say. Perhaps she too struggled to grasp their meaning? For example, the word “gobbing” or stating Lita playing a “wank” on her guitar. While I can hazard out the meaning, it drug me out of the story. I’m still trying to figure out what a “totem manager” is and if she didn’t mean “token manager.” There were also repetitions of blocks of text in different chapters. A few but not all of Jett’s solo hits that were mentioned did not list the songwriter. The reader is left with the impression that Jett wrote “I Love Rock n’ Roll” and “Crimson & Clover” which is not the case.

The Runaways’ story would have been better served by letting the people who lived it simply tell their stories. As is, Queens of Noise is an impediment with uncited interpretations that cloud a fascinating tale of teens who took the world by storm. Despite the morass, the Runaways and their story managed to get through, much as they did in the ‘70s, demonstrating the wit, the panache, and the perseverance required to bring their sound to the world.

Words, Words, Words

It’s never surprising that when doing online research, I will find myself tumbling into internet rabbit holes.

I’ve been reading up on The Man Who Came to Dinner by Kaufman & Hart after watching the movie with Bette Davis. There’s a scene part way through where Davis’ character loses a gambit to save her lover from the conniving movie star played by Ann Sheridan. Davis has almost no lines in the scene but you’re very much aware of her presence and watch her reactions as her dreams fall apart. Under Sheridan’s attack, Davis visibly shrinks in on herself. Her character knows she’s beaten.

Image from Wikipedia

I next started researching Davis and her work. This led me to reading Martin Shingler’s article, “Breathtaking: Bette Davis’s Performance at the End of Now, Voyager” which discusses the melodrama inherent in her work. Then it occurred to me that I don’t consider Davis’ work to be melodrama. It’s just, well, awesome. It’s definitely a heightened reality but it is also a truthful performance which I felt exempted it from the melodrama category.

One of the few contemporary performers that I’ve seen capture that style of performance from Davis’ hey day is the female impersonator, Charles Busch.

The mellerdramas I’ve watched were overblown for comic effect. I’d read somewhere that Victorian performances weren’t like that. Rather they were done earnestly and somewhere along the way the ironic detachment became the performance.

After citing several reviews of Now, Voyager Shingler broke down Davis’ performance of that classic film:

The final scene from Now, Voyager reveals Davis to be in total command of her vocal technique and able to use it to tremendous effect. She seems to know exactly how to pitch her voice and how to vary volume and tempo in order to convey changes in the character’s mental and emotional state.

It is a bravura display, as she glides through her character’s ever-changing thoughts and emotions, all subtly conveyed through the actress’s body and voice. One of the most remarkable aspects of this performance is the fact that the scene culminates in a line of dialogue that some consider one of the corniest in Hollywood history.

Yet the strength and subtlety of Davis’s performance makes it possible to accept the line when it comes as a truthful and heartfelt expression.

Remarkably, the infamous final line, “Oh Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon, we have the stars!” hardly feels like an aphorism at all. Somehow Bette Davis makes one of the great rhetorical flourishes of Hollywood melodrama seem real.

From here Shingler explores the nuances of Davis’ work in creating that scene. Language is an everyday tool to make our way in the world that we give little thought to. But to truly focus on a section of text and really see how sentences are structured, the shape of chosen words, and how variations in pronouncing them can color the meaning of the message is sheer delight. It gives you an awareness of how flexible language is. It has a power to influence people’s opinions or to get them to pass the salt.

It is instructive to pause here and consider the kinds of critical decisions Bette Davis had to make in order to play this scene. For instance, she had to decide which lines and which words to emphasize. She had to consider how to vary the rhythm of her speeches using differences in pace, pitch, tone, and volume: for example, which words to whisper, which to project firmly or even loudly. She had to work out the best places to pause and decide in which pauses to breathe. She had to think about how much breath to use. She also needed to consider when to move, and, when speaking, where to look: up or down, at or away from her costar.

When my first play was being produced by classmates in college, we engaged in similar work in the rehearsal process. There is never time to spare and yet Kimberly Bouchard, the director, chose to spend several of those days on the opening monologue. She had the actor slow down her reading to the point that each phoneme was isolated. Then she sped up, tasting the shape of sounds and how each was articulated.

There is a Royal Shakespeare Company series led by John Barton that discusses close text analysis of Shakespeare’s works. It was on You Tube last I’d check and is fascinating to watch. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it is populated with RSC alumni that I’m quite familiar with from film & tv. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105518406

Diving in to savor the minutia of a script and pulling back to incorporate all the pieces into a performance never gets dull. There is a duality in it where one is immersed and beside a script at the same time. This idea is reflected in this final quote from Shingler quoting Davis’ 1962 autobiography.

…. Davis wrote: With young actors who talk about becoming the character and losing themselves in a role, I must argue. There is a part of you that must hold the reins and control the projection. There is a part of you that must be aware of pace and timing. Without discipline and detachment, an actor is an emotional slob, spilling his insides. This abandonment is having an unfortunate vogue. It is tasteless, formless, absurd. Without containment there is no art.

And it occurs to me that This Random World also deals with containers…

Shingler, Maring. “Breathtaking: Bette Davis’s Performance at the End of Now, Voyager.” Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 58, No. 1/2 (Spring/Summer 2006)

Tempus Fugit

by Dona Black, Ariana Burns, & Tim Waterman

I think Tempus Fugit was the closest I’ve come to writing a 10-minute play thus far. It was the opener for a Theatre Outside the Belljar show. I wrote it with two wonderful friends and still like it. It was a part of the “I got this place in my head that ain’t right without you” series that I was writing back then. Below is a snippet.

EMCEE
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a performance piece. If you derive any pleasure from this piece, it is strictly coincidental. This is art, and as such, should be view by the audience with the same appropriate gravity as any beleaguered granting agency. This piece, in triplicate, has been sent to our advisory board for review. A moment please, I can’t work without a cigarette hangin’ out of my mouth. . .Art is.

TWO
Art is a sedative for the obsessive compulsive.

EMCEE
It consumes.

ONE
It penetrates.

TWO
Hurry!

 EMCEE
Admit One.

 TWO
Are you an Enemy of the Future?

EMCEE
Art rips your heart out.            

ONE
But you think you did it to yourself.

The Clean House Joke

Photo by Daniel Haley

Riffing off Ruhl, my posts on dramaturgy are not necessarily faithful descriptions of my process but rather views of certain aspects of it from just to the left of the experience. 

After The Three Keys of Captain Hellfire opened my director, David Lee-Painter (DLP) asked if I would dramaturg his next project, This Random World by Steven Dietz in the fall. The idea of researching someone else’s play was vaguely terrifying. I knew nothing about how to do it. In the past, I would’ve fled. This time I said, “Yes.”

So it was that I began learning dramaturgy and researching The Clean House.

The perfect joke makes you forget about your life.
The perfect joke makes you remember about your life.
The perfect joke is stupid when you write it down.
The perfect joke was not made up by one person. It passed through the air and you caught it.
A perfect joke is somewhere between an angel and a fart.
—Sarah Ruhl, The Clean House

Sometimes I’m thinking so hard that I miss the joke.

The Clean House opens with a joke. A joke told in Portuguese. It is a long joke. Being unable to understand the joke itself, the audience is left with only the shape of a joke. A device to make the audience observe the joke from the outside (Muse). It is another way of making the familiar strange. Ruhl let us into The Clean House on what was for me—these are my ruminations—an abstract point of entry that proved to set the tempo for the rest of the story.

From: DLP
Subject: The joke
I’m ruminating about the opening of The Clean House.
THAT first joke is super important. It’s in Portuguese
– and we can’t understand it.
WHEN is Matilde telling it? To whom?

“WHEN is Matilde??” With that trigger, ideas move. Ruhl’s story has an elasticity. It’s a joy to pull and stretch. The freedom she gives to explore. Burning through ideas but ultimately returning to the truth of the story she has created. To read it again. And again. The script is a tether.

It’s the past. Before she’s a comedian in deed.
Before the perfect joke comes to her.
It’s Brazil and somewhere safe.
May be with her parents.

It is now and the death of her parents cloak her
from telling the perfect joke which she also fears.

If top of show is the future, then she’s moving
backwards through time in the null space?
At the end of the story is her birth.

In her dissertation on comic dramaturgy, Jennifer Goff references the writing of Andrew Stott. (I know quoting someone else quoting is a no-no, but this is a blog.) In the realm of stand-up, a comic can present multiple perspectives in setting up a joke. Often they show us one point of view before presenting another that is incongruent with the first. “….like a silent but parallel conversation that could audibly erupt at any moment.”

Goff describes the technique as a “comic subversion.” She finds that Ruhl uses it and repurposes it “in service of a deeply profound view of the power of the joke.”

Are jokes apples?

There’s something compassionate about humor; it has a saving power. It seemed to me that if you took the most sublime version of a joke— the Platonic ideal of a joke—that it could transport you somehow. I remember when my father was sick that humor was a form of grace in the household. Humor pushed to an extreme, like any emotion, has a transformative power. In the play the joke is abstracted, but we see the compassion of one woman killing another woman with a form of euthanizing humor. Mathilda is willing to do this for Ana without even thinking about it—she takes pity on Ana and kills her with a joke, and that’s the emotional heart of the play.—Sarah Ruhl  (Weckwerth)

From: Ariana B
Is Clean House trying to be the perfect joke?

From: DLP
Damn fine question – the joke is so important –
both kills her mother and Ana. 
One causes great pain,
one relieves great suffering.  

From: Ariana B
Or may be both relieve great suffering.
That final transformation……

“Heaven is a series of untranslatable jokes.”
–Sarah Ruhl, The Clean House

#DLPAnotherFineMess #theatre #dramaturgy
Photo by Daniel Haley


Dunne, Will. The Architecture of Story: A Technical Guide for the Dramatic Writer.
Goff, Jennifer Ann. “If More Women Knew More Jokes…” The Comic Dramaturgy Of Sarah Ruhl And Sheila Callaghan, dissertation, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 2015.
Muse, Amy. The Drama and Theatre of Sarah Ruhl.
Weckwerth, Wendy.  More Invisible Terrains, Sarah Ruhl, Interviewed by Wendy, Theater (2004) 34 (2).
Zuheir Al-Shamma, James. Grief and Whimsy in the Plays of Sarah Ruhl, dissertation, UC-Santa Barbara, 2008.

Tennessee Williams: A Guide to Research and Performance

Discovered this book recently. Very nicely laid out but I think the chapters devoted to a book does a disservice to the plays within. Most informative.

I didn’t post the cover because…well, it’s not all that interesting. The good stuff is inside.

Off the Questia page:

 ….each is written by an expert contributor. Each chapter includes a discussion of the biographical context of the work or group of works; a survey of the bibliographic history; a summary of major critical approaches, which looks at themes, characters, symbols, and plots; a consideration of the major critical problems posed by the work; a review of chief productions and film and television versions; a concluding overview; and a bibliography of secondary sources.

https://www.questia.com/library/3549431/tennessee-williams-a-guide-to-research-and-performance

It Begins

Think of subtext as to the left of the language and not underneath it. –Sarah Ruhl

Riffing off Ruhl, my posts on dramaturgy are not necessarily faithful descriptions of my process but rather views of certain aspects of it from just to the left of the experience.

After The Three Keys of Captain Hellfire opened my director, David Lee-Painter (DLP) asked if I would dramaturg his next project, This Random World by Steven Dietz in the fall. The idea of researching someone else’s play was vaguely terrifying. I knew nothing about how to do it. In the past, I would’ve fled. This time I said, “Yes.”

So it was that I began learning dramaturgy and researching This Random World—I mean The Clean House.

A few weeks after we’d spoke, DLP messaged me. In about sixty days he would be directing The Clean House. On a whim, I sent him some articles on Sarah Ruhl.

From DLP: Can you also dramaturg Clean House?

I was so new to dramaturgy that I didn’t know what I was making or what it was called. And now he wanted two whatchamacallits. I did it.

Research is an immersive process for me. Consequently, I’m voracious in collecting information, possessed with a desire for thoroughness and continually frustrated by the nagging thought that I have not seen everything on the subject at hand.

When I compiled history notes on 18th century pirates for the cohort producing my play, I quickly came to the heartbreaking realization that not everyone is interested in the pictureless, scholarly articles that I savor. Crazy, I know.

That was my first lesson in dramaturgy.

Compiling my research on the two upcoming productions would involve rendering what I found down to its essentials. I wanted to create something informative and readable.

The Clean House & This Random World are shows well-suited for dual research. I found them to be different parts of a whole. They would make for a crazy double-bill but that was not the goal this time.

Both plays engage in making the familiar seem strange, bumping the audience into a different level of awareness, if only for a moment. Typically when attending the theatre, I anticipate becoming immersed in the story presented on the stage. These scripts deal with topics that are so much a part of our lives that it is necessary to bump us to prevent complete immersion. With a subtle shift, we as viewers watch something well-known “as if for the first time (Jestrovic).” From that prospective we are able to look at it, think about it, and respond to it consciously.

Johann described Ruhl’s style as “visionary and fantastical. As though the playwright has a shamanic role of reaching into the void and bringing back visions that explain us to ourselves (Johann).” The Clean House’s world has characters eating apples on a balcony and being able to chuck the remains into Lane’s home at a distant location. The two places exist in the play’s physical world and yet overlap in some fashion that allows apples to span distance and time. And they become more than apples. These symbols of original sin clutter Lane’s clean house with the messiness of a lived existence.

In This Random World, estrangement is the underlying architecture of Dietz’s story. He derailed the viewers’ expectation by having scenes happen offstage or not at all. “[Dietz says] ‘What if I subverted this? What if that was a list of scenes that cannot be in the play?’(Pender)”

A break-up is not shown to the audience but described by Claire after it has happened. Gary attempts to correct her narrative, but her story shapes what we understand happened. We are forced to rely on her interpretation of the event.

Dietz’s various characters are expected to meet and finally have a much anticipated encounter. They never do. Denying the audience this jars it into another view of the story and engenders a different response.

Both Dietz’s & Ruhl’s writing styles are different. I find Dietz’s to be more relaxed, easing me into the story and the ideas therein. His interviews read like casual conversations over coffee. His vision and process are apparent and relatable.

Ruhl crushes me with her philosophical background. The course I took in college made me feel like I was drowning as I struggled to understand the concepts presented and here I was once more. Drowning. It was a challenge to analyze her interviews and then apply them to her work, to understand the architecture she built. The Clean House was written crisply and sparingly. Sitting in the audience, I’m not aware of the architecture’s presence but studying the script, I see the overwhelming strength that structure gives to the entire work.

After studying and reflecting of the anatomy of their scripts, I reassembled them, stepped back, and looked at them holistically once more. Then I wrote up my findings. The Clean House packet was finalized and sent to DLP shortly before he left for rehearsals.

From DLP: GOLD – pure Gold. Is it possible to have this done for Dietz sooner rather than later so the team can ruminate on this GOLD earlier?

Oi.

It’s a good thing I love digging for buried treasure.

#DLPAnotherFineMess #theatre #dramaturgy
Photo by Daniel Haley


Jestrovic, Silvija. Making the Familiar Strange in Theatre and Drama: From Russian Formalist Avant-Garde to Brecht, dissertation, University of Toronto, 2002.

Johann, Susan. “Sarah Ruhl,” Focus on Playwrights, Portraits and Interviews, University of South Carolina Press, 2016. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv6wgmrn.17

Pender, Rick. “Ensemble Theatre Is Growing, Thriving in OTR,” Cincinnati CityBeat, Oct. 9, 2017. https://www.citybeat.com/arts-culture/theater/media-gallery/20978565/ensemble-theatre-is-growing-thriving-in-otr

Ruhl, Sarah. 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.

EVERYTHING CHANGES

Everything changes. You can make
A fresh start with your final breath.
But what has happened has happened. And the water
You once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again.

What has happened has happened. The water
You once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again, but
Everything changes. You can make
A fresh start with your final breath.
–Bertolt Brecht

Translated by John Willett
Bertolt Brecht POETRY AND PROSE
Edited by Reinhold Grimm with the Collaboration of Caroline Molina y Vedia
2006

Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy

I found these two books to be particularly helpful in learning dramaturgy. Ghostlight also has a section on different theories to use when analyzing a text. I was already familiar with these from my anthropology courses but the refresher was helpful. Ghostlight was also written cleanly and not bogged down with a lot of academic language which I found in other texts on theory. Both are from Southern Illinois University Press.

http://www.siupress.com/books/978-0-8093-2952-6