Member of the Slovenian Association of Dramatic Artists since 1993
Secretary General of the Slovene Centre of the International Theatre Institute since 1999
President of the Slovene Centre of the International Theatre Institute since March 2008
Dramaturgy on the Final Edge -
Balancing Between Theory and Practice (What is Dramatury All About?)
In many theoretical analyses the so called prologue starts with the dilemma or question: "Please, tell
me, what is the profession of yours all about?" Some explain it with many modest words, trying to
connect it with Lessing, others refer to the question with the simple answer: "I am doing this job for
many years, but I did not find out what is it really." This becomes manifest when he/she realizes all
the other aspects of theatre practice are recognizable after all, but his/her work stays hidden under
the term of some mystic word. And there is no one to appreciate it after all. But is this the truth?
How may a dramaturge's contribution be recognized at last? Can he/she also find a unique creative niche
in the theatre practice which does not pertain to the established features of his/her profession as
acquired in academic studies? Since opera dramaturgy is not a subject of regular study course in
Slovenia, I found out that it might be developed in various ways. It is up to us to build a new
perspective and change people's opinions. I will show numerous opportunities besides the habitual
academic or practical dramaturgy that theatre dramaturges can carry out, and will sustain my theses
through some practical project examples.
2. Behrndt, Synne, UK
2.1 A short CV:
Synne Behrndt is a practising dramaturg, lecturer -- currently lecturing in the Performing Arts
programme at the University of Winchester -- and researcher, whose main interests are contemporary
cross-disciplinary devising practices and new dramaturgies in text and live performance.
Synne has worked as a dramaturg for various performance companies in the UK and abroad.
As dramaturgical collaborator she is currently working with UK directors David Harradine/Fevered
Sleep on a project for Brighton Festival, and with Platform4 on The Tempest'.
Publications: Dramaturgy and Performance, co-written with Cathy Turner, published by Palgrave
Macmillan, November 2007. Forthcoming publication: Chapter on People Show's devising process in
Making Theatre Happen: Documentation and analysis of interactive devising processes, edited by
Jackie Smart and Alex Mermikides, published by Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. (2009).
Synne is completing a Phd. at Dartington College of Arts on the topic of New dramaturgies.
The Collaborative Role of the Dramaturg
This paper proposes to look at examples where new dramaturgies and contemporary working processes
have led to a highly collaborative role for the dramaturg. Where the dramaturg, traditionally, has
been positioned as an outside and external critic, she has in many contemporary practices and
processes increasingly become a deeply involved advocate and co-creator. This position is often
in stark contrast to classical notions of the dramaturg as a detached, remote and impartial figure.
Where these terms have made the dramaturg sound like an almost Bataillean 'pineal eye', a notion
which Michael Ann Holly interprets as the "(...) cold blooded (...) detached, dead, almost a-human
organ hovering vertiginously at the centre of modern thought" (Melville&Readings 1995:85), her
role as an intimate collaborator positions the dramaturg as an artisan with a vested personal,
political and aesthetic interest in the work. The proximity has meant a shift in terms of how the
dramaturg is positioned within a process.
The increased involvement in process where the image of the distant and remote eye of the dramaturg
is replaced by the close and intimate involvement might also offer an alternative metaphor to
replace the classical understanding of the dramaturg as 'the third, or external, eye' in the process.
If the ocular metaphor reduces the dramaturg to purely intellectual faculties, the metaphor of the body
might indicate that the collaborative dramaturg is invested in the work with all her of senses.
The paper proposes to develop these questions regarding the dramaturg as close collaborator using
discursive writings on Walter Benjamin and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.
3. Friedrich, Christina, Germany
3.1 A short CV
Christina Friedrich was born in Nordhausen / Thüringen. She studied directing at ,,Hochschule für
Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch" in Berlin. She worked as stage director in residence at The "Bremer
Theater" and directed numerous productions for German state and municipal theatres such as Weimar
(A. Bronnen, Vatermord; Shakespeare, Macbeth; Goethe, Stella; T. Waits, R. Wilson, Black Rider), Bonn
(Horvath, Glaube, Liebe, Hoffnung), Bremen (Kushner, Angels in America, Perestroika; F. Wedekind, Lulu;
B?chner, Wozyeck; A. Burgess, Clockwork Orange), Hannover (D. Loher, Blaubart - Hoffnung der Frauen),
Mainz (Lessing, Mis Sara Sampson; Borchert, Outside Before the Door), Ulm (M. Crimp, In the Country;
L. B?rfuss, The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents), Halle (C. Palahniuk, Fight Club) and Berlin (L. Hall,
Cooking with Elvis, Maxim Gorki Theater). She also worked in Switzerland and Austria.
She was Professor for Directing in Berlin, and is currently Professor at the ,,Mozarteum,, Salzburg.
She conducted a number of workshops and master-classes in Poland, at the TU Berlin, a master-class
for professional actors, directors and musicians on Faust at Ashai/Hokkaido, Japan, and a workshop on
Grimm's Legends at the Theatre Department of Tel Aviv University. Her work as a teacher and stage
director involves profound dramaturgical engagement with translating, adapting and editing texts.
"Fight Club - The Nouvelle Cuisine of Anarchy"
Fight Club, a novel, a film, a subject. And all of us believe to know about it. How does one manage
to get a proper theatrical play based on this particular myth? We build a soap kitchen. We invent a
recipe. What are we going to make out of this subject which lets the world explode, brakes bones,
makes noses bleed and also splits personalities. How do we manage to filtrate scenes and lines for
the stage out of Chuck Palahniuk's novel. What tools do we use. We divide Tyler Durden's character
by a multitude. What decisions do we have to make to introduce an unknown scene into a new play.
Based on a self-experiment we will work with classical key moments of the Fight Club and we will
order them in our own test-arrangement. We will get to know recipes and techniques in soap-making and
how to build a new explosive out of a topic. We will open a Fight Club with our own rules and our own
laws. We will enter the bloody cellar in Paper Street and also the world of insurance-agents. And
during 240 minutes we will design a radical and anarchist play that will teach us the disrespectful
handling of classical subjects. A play without boundaries. The way Tyler Durden is living it.
4. Haim, Mazalit, Israel
4.1 A short CV
Year of Birth: 1978
2006-2008- Writing a Master's thesis bearing the title: Poetics and Genre: Studies in the plays of
Leah Goldberg and Yehuda Amichai
2006- Dean's Distinguished Student Award.
2004 - M.A. student at the Faculty of Arts, Tel Aviv University, concurrently studying with a view
to earning a teaching certificate at the Education Department.
July 2004 - A scholarship from the French Institute for participation in an international theater
festival, held in France.
2001-2003 - Attending writing workshops at Beit HaSofer ("the Writer's House") and at Beit
Ariela in Tel Aviv.
2001-2004 - Tel Aviv University, the Department of Theatre Arts, where I pursued B. A. studies to
completion. During the three years of the Bachelor's degree, I attended a variety of
courses outside of the Theater Department, at the following departments: the History of Art Department,
the French Language Department, the Department of General Literature, the Hebrew Literature Department,
the Philosophy Department and the Hebrew Language Department, along with participation in
translation and translation editing workshops.
1990-1996 - The Kiryat Haim High School, where I earned a full matriculation certificate on the
Literature and Arabic Track.
2006-2008- Research and Teaching assistant in the Department of Theatre Studies.
2004-2005 - Work with the Writers Association, a lector job at the "Habima" National Theater, as
well as working on a joint project of Tel Aviv University with the "Cameri" Theater.
2003-2004 - Dramaturgical work at two large-scale productions of the Theater Department at Tel
1996-1998 Field security investigator at the Advanced Marine Command, the Navy, Haifa. Rank
at discharge: sergeant.
Full command of English. French and Arabic on a high level.
"It Seems That Rather Than Be Silent, I Should Better Tell' - Dramaturgy as Testimony in
the Theatre of the Auteur Ruth Kanner
This lecture will address the question of testimony in the theatre, as it finds its expression in the
works of Ruth Kanner.
Ruth Kanner, who adapts literary texts for stage, does not transform them into pure drama, but mixes
the two modes of representation, the literary and the dramatic, with the result that they are both
present on stage at the same time. The actor is both the narrator and the performer of the acts. He
is found within the events but also interprets them from the outside. He is the witness speaking on
behalf of others and to others, a witness taking an immediate and direct part in the struggle with
the obstinate and indifferent existence of nature, as well as with war and the suffering of human
beings. Out of these chaotic situations, in which history obliterates the human face, the voice of
the acting self must erupt, speak and narrate. Kanner dramatizes the act of bearing witness and turns
it into a theatrical act structuring memory anew. The retrospective structure of the testimony
becomes an act of representation in the theatrical present, so that the theatrical world contains
both the crisis and the need to give testimony about it at the same time.I will explore in some detail
the complexity of bearing witness seen in Kanner's works, mainly through treatment of the following
plays: "Discovering Elijah", an adaptation of a book by S. Yizhar that deals with the Yom Kippur
War; "At Sea", which deals with the experiences of a drowning man, and "Dionysus at the Dizengof
Centre", an adaptation of the book by Tamar Berger, which recapitulates the history of a shopping
mall at the center of Tel-Aviv.
5. Hegemann, Carl, Germany
5.1 A short CV:
Prof. Carl Hegemann is one of the most prominent and innovative dramaturgs in Europe. Born in
1949, living in Berlin, he is currently teaching at the "Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix
Mendelssohn Bartholdy" - Leipzig, Department of Dramaturgy.
He studied Philosophy, Sociology and Literature at the Frankfurt am Main University, then teaching
these subjects and Media Studies in Frankfurt and the Freie Universität in Berlin. Since 1980 he has
been working as dramaturg in various theatres (Freiburg, Bochum, Das Beliner Ebsemble, etc.).
Between 1992-2006 he has served as dramaturg-in-residence of the renowned Volksbühne am Rosa-
Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, working with notable directors such as Frank Castorf, Christoph
Schlingensief, Rene Pollesch and Einar Schleef.
Dramaturgy of the Present
Dubious Theses on the general Relationship of Representation and Thought in the
The notion of Dramaturgy includes today everything which relates to the reciprocal
relationship between Theatre and Society: Play and Seriousness, Art and Science,
Everyday and Transcended Being: Everything seems to be directed and follows a
Dramaturgy that decrees our understanding or non-understanding of what happens in
Each public and private appearance is a representation and as such should always be
comprehended through dramaturgical points of view. Dramaturgical knowledge enables
the ambitious and specific confrontation with a world that is only accessible if it
is medially conveyed and dramaturgically processed.
Theatre is not only an antique cultural technique, which affects one as anachronistic
due to novel representation means through film, TV and digital production/interaction.
Theatre also conveys the most concrete paradigm for the "beautiful new Media-Culture",
in which aesthetic appearance and theatrical practices (also deception, lies, fake) have
become structural characteristics of the public and private life in a hitherto unknown extent.
In the confrontation between the old cultural technique theatre with the all-embracing
theatralization of our real-life world the dramaturgy of the present finds its mission
Dramaturgy derives its specific profile from its interim position between reflection and
action, it is the continuation of speculative thinking, of Philosophy, with other, namely
aesthetic means. It attempts a visualization of the merely-thought-of and a thoughtful
processing of the merely present.
Dramaturgy defines processes and situations by explaining what is going on in that which
you see. Real love or betrayal? Rape or a billiard game? Only interpretation renders something
that happens into a specific event.
Dramaturgy is always engaged with the question: What is actually going on here? In order
to answer this question one needs deliberation, reflection. Reflection distinguishes
dramaturgical action from directing and acting, which being productive
modes of action should not be blocked by reflection.
Whereas directors and actors create and carry out processes, play and perform actions, the
specific practice of dramaturgy consists in the interpretation, reflection
on and definition of the spontaneous or carefully planned artifacts and their surroundings.
Dramaturgy can change any theatrical process, simply by interpreting the processes in different
ways, by framing them in a new and different manner.
One may change the world by defining it differently. Even wrong interpretations might have real
These theses should not be interpreted as theses about dramaturgy but as dramaturgical questions.
6. Kaynar, Gad, Israel
6.1 A short CV
Gad Kaynar (born 1947) is a Professor at the Theatre Department, Tel Aviv University, the head of
the directing, writing and dramaturgy section, and the director of the University Theatre. Kaynar
is also a Guest Professor at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, as well as at The Institut für
Theaterwissenschaft in Munich. He is an expert on the drama of Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg,
and the author of numerous articles on Jewish, Israeli, German and Scandinavian theatre, dramaturgy,
performance analysis, theatrical rhetoric and reception theory. His book The Reality Convention in
Hebrew Theatre is due to appear in 2009. Kaynar organized a series of international theatre conferences,
followed by a number of publications which he edited such as: Revolution and Institutionalization
in the Theatre, and Bertolt Brecht: Performance and Philosophy (both at Tel Aviv University: Assaph
Book Series). Since 1982 he has been the dramaturg of "Habima", Israel's National Theatre, The Cameri
Theatre of Tel Aviv (on the history of which Kaynar wrote two books), and The Jerusalem Khan Theatre,
as well as artistic director of several monodrama festivals. Through a grant from the "Israel Science
Foundation", he conducts a basic research on Applied Dramaturgy leading up to a special issue of
Theatre Research International (October 2006) on dramaturgy, edited by him and Prof. Freddie Rokem.
For the last ten years Kaynar is the editor of Teatron - A Journal for Contemporary Israeli Theatre.
Kaynar is the General Secretary of the Israeli Centre of the ITI since 2002.
Kaynar translated nearly 50 plays for the Israeli theatre, mostly from German, Norwegian and Swedish
(among others: Nine plays by Ibsen; Miss Julie, The Father, Creditors and A Dream Play by Strindberg;
Scenes From a Marriage by Ingmar Bergman; and A Dream in Autumn by Jon Fosse, Emilia Galotti by G. E.
Lessing, Der Kontrabass by Patrick Süsskind, Norway. Today. By Igor Bauersima). Kaynar is also an actor
(his last roles included were Lucky in Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Gloucester in Shakespeare's King Lear,
and the male protagonist in the late Israeli satirist, Hanoch Levin's anti-militarist revue You and Me
and the Next War), director and poet who published three poetry volumes.
6.2 Opening Presentation Subject:
What is Dramaturgy? or: The Indispensibility of a Totally Superfluous Profession
7. Levy, Shimon, Israel
7.1 A short CV
Prof. Shimon Levy is Full Professor at the Tel Aviv University Theater Department, and was its chairman for
five years (2000-05). His publications include three books on Samuel Beckett's drama (McMillan; Sussex
Academic, Hakibutz Hameuchad); Theatre and Holy Script, [Ed.], Sussex Academic Press 1999), and on Hebrew
drama [ed.], Hanoch Levin: The Man with the Myth in the Middle. He has published The Bible as Theatre
(Sussex Academic Press 2002) and The Israeli Theatre Canon (2002) and numerous articles in Hebrew, English
and German. His book on Israeli Drama & Theatre appeared in Arabic (Madar, Ramalla 2007) and is in print
in Hebrew (Writers Union & Assaph 2007). Levy has been theatre critic for Israeli journals, TV and radio,
dramaturge for the Habimah Theatre and the Khan Theatre, and has translated over 140 plays into Hebrew. He
has directed plays for theater and radio. Presently he also serves as Advisor in the Ministry of Culture.
His translation into Hebrew of Beckett's Collected Dramatic Works was published in 2007.
7.2 A short Synopsis
Catastrophe - An Exercise in Practical Dramaturgy
This workshop in active, actual and live dramaturgy will focus on Samuel Beckett's (short) play Catastrophe.
We shall send it via e-mail to whoever shows even vague signs of interest to participate in a "comparative"
dramaturgy experiment. Group members will hence be invited to propose their "stage-version" and explain their
(ideal?) choices and decisions regarding translation (if necessary), possible text adaptations (?), preferred
modes of acting, desired sets, proper costumes, lights, music (if added) etc. -- either complying to Beckett's
fairly precise stage instruction --- or not (and explain why, why not). Since we shall not really perform
anything, we shall be legally safe from the Beckett Estate Watching Eye...
Special time, but not too much, will be allocated in the workshop to do this, but we thought it might be
advisable to come somehow prepared... During the 3-4 hours of the workshop, depending also on the number
of participants, we shall all present at least an outline of our various "catastrophic" interpretations,
and indulge in a hot discussion of their respective innovations, values, local or universal orientations -
and such-like dramaturgical considerations, that will surely to pop up.
Assuming, at least for the sake of a slight provocation, that Catastrophe (what is indeed the "catastrophe"
in/of the play?) is an open parable on directing as a double-edged metaphor for oppression, within as well
as outside of theatre, we invite the workshop participants to a focused discussion on practical dramaturgy
- in a nutshell.
8. Meyrick, Julian, Australia
8.1 A short CV:
Dr. Julian Meyrick is Associate Director and Literary Advisor at Melbourne Theatre Company, and a Research
Fellow at La Trobe University, Julian is a dramaturge, director and theatre historian. He is currently an
Adjunct Professor at Deakin University and Deputy-Chair of PlayWriting Australia, the peak script development
body in the country. He has published an account of Sydney's Nimrod Theatre See How It Runs: Nimrod and the
New Wave (2002), a history of MTC, The Drama Continues (2005) and a recent essay, Trapped by the Past (2005),
analysing the current play development crisis in Australian theatre. He has published a number of practice-based
papers in a variety of journals, most recently "Cut and Paste: The Nature of Dramaturgical Development" for
Theatre Research International (31/3: 2006.) At MTC he is responsible for running the writer development
program, Hard Lines, and he has dramaturged and directed many new Australian plays. He directed, inter alia,
the inaugural production of the multi-award winning Who's Afraid of the Working Class for the Melbourne
Workers Theatre and himself won the 1998 Green Room Award for Best Director.
The Ontology of Dramaturgy/Dramaturgy as Ontology
"What is your ontology?" Question from Jacques-Alain Miller to Jacques Lacan during Seminar X1.
Play texts are a form of representation. Yet they are also complex bundles of intentions and decision
pathways. When actively entrained by the theatre production process they take on crypto-agency via those
who interpret and/or create them. They are a form of existence.
Drawing on the work of philosopher Alain Badiou in reviving discussions of the subject and objective truth,
this paper discusses the ontological parameters of dramaturgy, arguing that while the essential meaning of
a play text is hard to define nevertheless dramaturgical analysis is predicated on the notion that plays
do have essential meanings. From this ontological claim flows the sense of a play's structural elements,
as well as its relationship to the real world ie. its relationship with truth. Dramaturgy, a way of
intervening in processes of representation, is founded on issues of being. Questions of style, content,
characterization, cultural context (both source and target) come second to questions of a play's essential
nature - its alethia.
The paper further argues that while dramaturgy is both function and method of work it is, at the present
time, also a metaphor. Dramaturgy as a truth-procedure provides a language - limited but extant - to speak
of the 'whole' of the theatre experience. As theatrical production becomes more technological, specialized
and rationalized its identity as a totality is eclipsed. Theatrical vision - whether that of the director's,
the designer's, or the playwright's - detaches from philosophical position and becomes the deployment of
The indiscernibility of the dramaturge's role marks its usefulness as a means for recuperating theatre's lost
philosophical wholeness. Its vagueness as a job description interrupts a production process that increasingly
limits and proscribes its intellectual inputs. None of this is to valorise the dramaturge or proximate roles
(literary manager, literary adviser etc.). It is to argue that the core values of the job are bound up with
issues of ontological presence and truth. It is for this reason that dramaturgy as a metaphor has achieved
'uplift', making it a crucial area of theatrical awareness today.
9. Milz, Bettina, Germany
9.1 A short CV:
After studying Applied Theatre Sciences at the University of Gießen, Bettina Milz worked as actress, dramaturg
and project director. During the initial phase of the Institute for Theatre Sciences in Frankfurt de 1988 - 1990,
she worked as research assistant for Prof. Hans-Thies Lehmann. From 1990 - 1993, she worked as a dramaturgue at
the Theatre of Erlangen focussing on dance and experimental theatre forms. After her maternity leave, she worked
as a journalist for, among others, ballet-tanz. In 1996, she assumed the project direction for "TanzRegion 97" for
the "KulturRegion Stuttgart". Bettina Milz is co-founder of the Produktionszentrum Tanz und Performance Stuttgart.
From 1999 - 2004 she was member of Stuttgart's board of advisors for culture. From 1999 - 2003, she was production
director and dramaturg for the Junge Oper at Stuttgart's State Opera House. From 2004 - 2006 she was artistic director
of the festival "Tanzplattform Deutschland 2006" in Theaterhaus Stuttgart. Additionally, she teached in the area
of theatre sciences at the universities of Erlangen, Frankfurt/Main, Mainz and Berlin as well as Cultural Management
at the PH Ludwigsburg. Writings on dance, opera and experimental theatre were recenly published in AufBrüche.
Theaterarbeit zwischen Text und Situation, Theater der Zeit, Berlin 2004. tanz.de - Contamporary Dance in Germany,
Berlin 2005. Bettina Milz lives in Stuttgart.
DANCE DRAMTATURGY & DRAMATURGY OF THE BODY
The field of dance dramaturgy during the last few years has gained more and more impact in dance
practice, but the number of choreographers who concede themselves the continuous work with experts
of theory is still much to low. Pina Bausch allways worked with a dramaturg, William Forsythe worked
with dramaturges, Meg Stuart or Xavier le Roy, but for the most independent companies - and this
is still basically the frame for exciting and experimental contemporary dance today - it is a luxury
to have a partner in theory.
One of the main reasons for the new need of dramaturgy in dance is probably the shift towards complex,
often fragmented performance texts on stage, strange conglomerates of bodies and all kinds of
interdisciplinary use of space, text, light, projections, music etc. After a period of now about 40
years of Tanztheater, modern and post modern dance, modern ballet, Butoh in Japan or recently
conceptual dance there is a need for new forms of narration. What kind of stories do we tell on
stage? What tools of composition can be developed? How do we treat the short history of dance and
the development of highly diverse working methods?
Rather than ascing for the dramaturg, the need is to create new forms and processes of dramaturgy in
dance. Dramaturges today move in a field full of contradictions and diverging needs. They are the
"outside eye", observer and part of the creative process, they are a corrective. In the same time
they are often producers, they probably often write more texts to apply for money, for programs or
public relations, than for the artistic concept. They are translators and moderators of a complex
process of production between a team of artists and institutions. I will try to discribe some of
this juxtapositions, showing the art work of important choreographers and companies.
10. Morabito, Sergio, Germany
10.1 A short CV
Morabito is a leading theatre and opera dramaturg, working closely as a team with the director,
Jossi Wieler. He studied Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen. Started his partnership with Wieler
in 1993 in Stuttgart. Morabito did the dramaturgy for Wieler's productions of La Clemenza di
Tito, Alcina, L'incoronazione di Poppea, Siegfried, Don Carlo, Norma, Moses and Aron and Una
Cosa Rara. In 1999/00 they mounted Macbeth at the Theater Basel, followed by the huge success
of Ariadne on Naxos at the Salzburg Festival. Morabito and Wieler adapted together Debussy's
Pelléas and M?lisande at the Opera of Hannover, a production that has been invited both to the
Wiener Festwochen, as well as to the Edinburgh Festival. Their common production of Busoni's
Doktor Faustus in San Francisco and Stutgart was chosen as the "Production of the Year" 2005.
In the summer of 2005 Morabito supervised the revival of Norma from the Stuttgart Opera with
the ensemble of the Novaya Opera in Moscow. The team Wieler / Morabito has been awarded in
2006 the new German Theatre Prize "Der Faust" for the best Opera Directing in Doktor Faustus.
Among other future projects, Morabito and Wieler are scheduled to put on Halevy's La Juive at
the Stuttgart Opera in 2008.
Morabito and Wieler will joinly conduct a workshop on Opera Dramaturgy and Interpretation, and on
11. Nagid, Haim, Israel
11.1 A short CV
Born in 1940 in Buchrest, Rumania (in Israel since 1948), Dr. Haim Nagid is a writer, a
literary and theatre critic, an editor and a lecturer and scholar on theatre and literature
in The Teachers College of Technology, Tel-Aviv. Since August 2003 he is the chairman of
General Union of Israeli Writers. His publications include three books of verse, a novel,
three plays and three books of drama research, and numerous articles, among them - "The
History of the Israeli Theatre", Entry in The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre,
Editor: Don Rubin, Routledge (1995).
Nagid is the founder and editor of Gag - a of Israeli contemporary Literature (1998), and
of Safra, publishing house of General Union of Israeli Writers, and since 1996 the
nco-editor of periodical Teatron. Nagid received several awards, including the Prime
Minister, Mati Katz and Dov Sadan Prizes.
From the Thrust Stage to the Box Theatre: The shifting performance places of Games in the
Backyard by Edna Mazya as a major ingredient in the process of interpretation and reception
of the play
The play Games in the Backyard by Edna Mazya was, since its premiere in 1993, one of the
biggest hits of Haifa Theatre. Directed by Oded Kotler it was performed more than 1200 times
during 13 years, and also in several theatres abroad. The play is a docudrama based on the
rape incident in Kibbutz Shomrat. Seven boys aged 17 repeatedly raped a 14-year-old girl
in the fields and homes of the kibbutz. At the center of the play is the story of the rape
and the ensuing trial. The writing of the play began before the verdict and it was staged
about six months after the second trial began, in June 1993. At the beginning, the
performances took place at the Waddi Salib theatre, a branch of Haifa Theatre, in a small
amphitheatre-shaped space, where most of the audience obtained a heightened and alienated
perspective of the action on stage. Later on, after becoming a popular play, especially
acclaimed by teachers that used it for didactic purposes, it was performed in large
box-shaped theatres. Gradually it became obvious that the play does not fulfill its
didactic aim, and instead of reducing sexism and prejudice against women within the
young viewers, it encouraged it. These paradoxical outcomes in educational drama about
gang rape were exposed in the research of Dr. Anat Gessr-Edelburg (Research in drama
education 10:22, 139-158, Taylor & Francis, 2005). The aim of this paper is to suggest
a solution to this paradox by pointing out the possibility of shifting the performance
places as an element influencing the misunderstanding of the play by the young and
Another aim of this paper is to indicate the necessity of dramaturgical interpretation
that foresees the influences of the extra-dramatic context on the reception of dramatic
text, and thus it might avoid disagreeable outcomes.
12. Pettengill, Richard, USA
12.1 A short CV:
Richard Pettengill is Assistant Professor of English and Theater at Lake Forest College.
Prior to this appointment, he was a dramaturg at the Court and Goodman Theaters in Chicago,
where he collaborated with the playwright August Wilson and such directors as Robert
Falls, Frank Galati, and Peter Sellars. His essays on Sellars' production of The Merchant
of Venice have recently appeared in the journals Voies De La Creation Theatrale,
Performance Research, and Theater Research International, and in the volume called The
Theater of Teaching and the Lessons of Theater (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005). He is
also co-editing, with musicologist Nicholas Cook, a volume of essays called New Perspectives
on Performance Studies: Music Across the Disciplines (forthcoming, University of Michigan Press).
NB: This proposal relates to two themes: 1) Dramaturgy and Audience Education and 2) Dramaturgy
Model for Dramaturgical The Plough and the Stars on Campus and in the Community: a Proposed
Model for Dramaturgical Collaboration Between Colleges and Schools Following nearly twenty
years of professional work as a dramaturg, I now teach dramaturgy at a small, liberal
arts college just north of Chicago. In addition to the rich opportunities to expose
students to and involve them in dramaturgical activity in the city, I have also been
exploring ways to create intersections between my undergraduate course in dramaturgy,
campus productions, and local schools.
I will describe a collaboration that occurred in 2006-07 between my dramaturgy course, a
senior English/Education major doing a senior thesis on dramaturgy, the College's Education
department, and two teachers at a nearby disadvantaged high school.
My course focuses on dramaturgical preparation of plays that will be produced at the
college in the following season.
In spring 2006, we spent an entire semester working on Sean O'Casey's The Plough and
the Stars (1926), in collaboration with the play's director. Simultaneously, I worked
with a senior on creating an education program for a local disadvantaged high school.
Modeling her work on the still-thriving audience education programs that I began at
the Court and Goodman Theaters in the 1980s, my student created study materials
derived from the dramaturgical workon O'Casey's play done by the students in the
dramaturgy course; she created an educational program in which high school students
would read and study O'Casey's challenging script in preparation for seeing the
production on campus. I will detail this collaboration with an emphasis on ways in
which these high school students found connections between a seemingly remote and
obscure historical drama dealing with the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin Ireland, and
related it directly to their lives in a disadvantaged American urban setting in 2007.
13. Raban-Hecht, Tali, Israel
13.1 A short CV
Theatre Critic, Playwright, Lecturer, and M.A. student in the Department of Theatre
Arts at Tel Aviv University. Completed her B.A. in Directing and Dramaturgy at the
Department of Theatre Arts, and Graduated with High Excellence (Tel Aviv University
Rector's Award). Currently writes her thesis paper regarding Birth and Death in Chekhov's
Drama, guided by Professor Harai Golomb. Since 2004 has been working as a Teaching
Assistant at the Theatre Department, writing and teaching courses for B.A. students,
and as a Research Assistant of Professor Gad Kaynar on The History of Applied Dramaturgy
in Israel. Among her plays: RIKAVON ('Decay'), CHERPAH ('Disgrace') - freely based on
Shakespeare's Taming of The Shrew, and MELACH ('Salt').
Dramaturgy as a Bridge between Artistic Policy and Political Ideology: The Case of
Max Brod and HABIMA
As part of Professor Gad Kaynar's research on Applied Dramaturgy in Israel, my role is
to delve into the history of dramaturgy at Habima theatre from its establishment in
Moscow in 1917, and more specifically, to examine the period of the employment of Max
Brod, who was the theatre's dramaturg between the years of 1939 and 1958.
In this lecture, I intend to examine the development of the dramaturg role in Habima
theatre since its establishment. I will also try to show how the ambivalent approach
of Habima, that has been managed as a Collective, to dramaturgical and repertoire-related
questions in general, and to Max Brod's work in particular, demonstrates an identity
crisis whose signs could be seen many years after the theatre's establishment in Moscow
. We shall see that time and again artistic policy in the making collided with political
ideology, leaving dramaturgical decisions to mediate between artistic aspirations and
the sociological-political-ideological climate, two elements which are
in conflict as it is.
The lecture will address several basic questions: First, I will examine the artistic
policy of the theatre, which seems to have been based upon a wonderfully complete
theoretical basis. Upon its inception, the theatre defined five major tenets: Being a
Hebrew, historical-biblical, educationally oriented, national and artistic theatre. Alas,
this promising policy soon cracked in the face of harsh reality. I will show the manner
in which the debates surrounding this policy, its major tenets and the complex problems
unique to Habima, all affected the role of the dramaturg and actual dramaturgical decisions.
I will also address the question of influence - Who dealt with dramaturgy in Habima?
Was Max Brod the main authority in dramaturgical decisions, or did the theatre unofficially
empower other people, whose weight in the decisions was actually greater? And in direct
relation to this rhetorical question, how did it come to be that all involved parties in
making dramaturgical decisions were people of politics, Zionism and culture, but mostly
lacking any education in the relevant fields, while the highly educated Brod, the dramaturg,
was rarely part of repertoire-related decisions?
Finally, I will examine the reciprocal expectations of the theatre and its audiences: The
very close relationship between the theatre and media critics (especially in Israel, after
the theatre settled), and the level of influence the Israeli audience's expectations had on
repertoire-related policy. The complex interplay between the theatre and society had a direct
influence on the dramaturg's role, as a mediator between the theatre and the media.
14 . Stuber, Petra, Germany
14.1 A short CV:
Professor of Dramaturgy and History of Theatre at the Academy of Music and Theatre Felix
Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Leipzig (Germany) since 2001, co-founder of the curriculum of
dramaturgy. She is a Guest Professor at the University of Glasgow, the University of
California in San Diego, the University of Bern and the Waseda University in Tokyo. In
the 1980s and 1990s dramaturg, actress and assistant professor at the Leipzig University.
Research in contemporary theatre (essays on Heiner Müller, Frank Castorf, Michael Thalheimer,
Jo Fabian) and history of theatre in East-Germany (published as Spielräume und Grenzen,
Studien zum DDR-Theater, Berlin 1998; and 2000, essays on Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel).
At present main research focussed on the practice of performance in the 19. th Century. Stuber
furthermore lectures on theatre from the 16.th - 21.st Century.
for further informations on publication, projects and the curriculum of dramaturgy:
Teaching Dramaturgy is a Bit Like Translation
If I would talk about teaching dramaturgy, I was asked. What dramaturgy is and how it could
be taught I wouldn't even be able to tell you in German. By all means dramaturgy is thinking
about how to create something in the present production. And each production depends on what
you are interested in, the work you have finished before, whom you meet, how much time and
money you get, what's happening next to you and what you don't want to repeat and, last but
not least, where you are at the moment. For eg. in Leipzig, an East German city of 350.000
inhabitants. At the Leipzig Academy of Music and Theatre (where students are educated to
become musicians, singers, actors) there has been founded a department of dramaturgy ten
years ago. The intake is limited to 15 students every two years, the course takes 4 years,
the degree is a diploma (currently in the process of being changed into bachelors and masters
degree), the staff consist of 3 professors, 2 assistant professors and guest teachers.
In general students are kept together as a group during the entire curriculum - although
they are permanently absent due to theatre practica and projects. The fact that there are
only a few students forming a continuously working group is the first difference to the
department of theatre studies at the University of Leipzig with a 1000 students, all able
to become dramaturges. The other difference between our Academy and the University
education is that the Academy is focussed on the practice contemporary theatre. For this
reason one of the teachers is a well known dramaturge who also works in theatre productions.
For the same reason our lectures on film and media are strongly related to modern
performances and intermedia experiments. It is also for this reason that in my subject,
history of theatre, I am working on ways of rereading and translating the history of
theatre in respect of the practice of contemporary and future theatre.
15. Wieler, Jossi, Germany
15.1 A short CV:
The Swiss director Jossi Wieler studied directing at the Theatre Arts Department of Tel
Aviv University (he speaks fluent Hebrew). Since 1982 he directs classical and modern
plays at the most prominent theatres in Germany and Switzerland, and specializes in
premiering texts by the Nobel Prize winner, Elfriede Jelinek. For directing her play
Wolken.Heim in 1994 he has been chosen as "Director of the Year". In 2005 he has
directed for the second time a project with Japanese actors that has been invited to
Berlin, Munich, Vienna and Amsterdam. Since 1994 Jossi Wieler is increasingly
directing operas, mostly in a team with the dramaturg Sergio Morabito (please see
list of common works in Morabito's CV). To the Mozart-Year 2006 they directed in
Amsterdam a Ponte-Cycle on three consecutive evenings. Wieler and Morabito's
productions have been invited to perform all over Europe. For their production
of Ariadne on Naxos they were crowned in 2002 by the influential periodical
Opernwelt as "Directing-Team of the Year". Their productions of Doktor Faustus
and Alceste were celebrated in 2005 and 2006 as "Production of the Year". Apart
from being awarded in 2006 with the German Theatre Prize for Doktor Faustus,
Jossi Wieler has received in 2002 the Konrad-Wolf-Prize from the Academy of Arts,
und in 2005 - the German Cristics Award.
Morabito and Wieler will joinly conduct a workshop on Opera Dramaturgy and Interpretation,
and on director-dramaturg collaboration.