Dramaturgy Assignment Prompts
Below are prompts used for a mid-year written assignment for the Theatre History & Dramaturgy course taken by first year students at the Tom Todoroff Conservatory in NYC.
Student will 3-5 pages using one of the following prompts:
Option #1: Shakespearian Fightaturgy
Pick a single fight from either Romeo & Juliet or Hamlet.
First, explain how the fight or fights fit into the plot structure of the play as a whole and how character relationships are different before and after the fight and explain what character conflicts manifest in the fight. Remember that the characters affected are not limited to those who fight (for example, Juliet has a lot at stake when Romeo & Tybalt face off).
Second, if there are clues about how the fight might manifest itself in earlier parts of the script or descriptions of the fight later in the script that might influence how actors would execute them, detail those.
Third, come up with three different executions of the fight and describe how each one would change the overall arc of a production. This could be as simple as how things might be different if one character sustains an unscripted (but logical) injury that would change the actor’s portrayal of them later in the play or as complex as exchanging swords for firearms and thus changing the entire world of a play.
Approach this as if you are a director or producer preparing for a production meeting.
Option #2: Character & Context Podcast
You are tasked with creating promotional material for a theatre company doing one of the following plays:
Life is a Dream
Doctor Faustus (Marlowe)
Create an outline for a series of podcasts or a web series/vlog in which 3-5 major characters will be interviewed in modern contexts. What will be discussed? At what point in the play are they being interviewed (before the play, after the play, mid action (ex. “Orestes, you’re walking into your mom’s palace, what’s on your mind?”)). What would the characters be asked? Who is the interviewer (a theatre staff member? A historical figure?) How much of the plot would you give away? Is a humorous or serious approach more effective?
Keep in mind this would be both a stand alone work and something that exists to get audience members to attend.
An example you might examine is the Dead Authors Podcast.
Option #3 – Production Plan: Changing Context
Create a description/plan for production of The Orestia (in whole or in part), Life is a Dream, or Doctor Faustus set in your hometown at some point in the last 20 years (this can take actual events (elections, wars, 9/11, the financial collapse, etc) into context in terms of design and so on). How would you justify the actions of the play in a modern context? If you have chorus characters, how do they respond to events of the play as contemporary people? How does the play reflect on the here and now?
Option #4 - Culinary Dramaturgy & Adaptation
Plan an immersive theatre experience around an adaptation of any play this semester that includes audience members eating a course of a meal for every act, as well as pre-show and post-show. Justify each item on the menu. What is going on when that item is served? Use specific examples from your chosen play. How would the story be adapted to make the meal work?
Assume tickets in the $200-$500 range and plan the meal and performance accordingly.