Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


OFEM by Anne Hamilton to Be Read in Ithaca May 4th

Little Black Dress Ink' new play festival takes place this spring across the country.

I am very pleased that my short play OFEM has been chosen as a semi-finalist for Little Black Dress Ink’s 2014 Female Playwrights Onstage Project. It will be featured in an Ithaca, NY reading on May 4th. If chosen as a finalist, it will have a reading at the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles later this year.

Here is a guest post I wrote for Little Black Dress Ink’s website. It gives a little bit of background on how I was inspired to write OFEM.

OFEM – A Comic Monologue on American Food Attitudes

I have been eating organic food for about fifteen years. I needed to regain some health after the exhaustion I felt after graduating from Columbia University and starting my career as a dramaturg in New York City. I started ordering deliveries from Urban Organics, based in Brooklyn, after a recommendation from Lynn Nottage.

In 2004, I moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a beautiful region filled with farms and natural reserves. I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of a Community Supported Agriculture project at Blooming Glen Farm. As a CSA member, I often visited the farm to help with chores, like replanting onions, helping to hang garlic in the barn, and at the end of the season, to pull up tomato vines from the fields so the farmers could prepare the soil for the next season’s planting.

While on the farm, and also while hanging out with health-conscious new friends, I noticed that there is a particularly ferocious atmosphere in Bucks County with regards to food. Some are outright food preachers, espousing one type of diet over another, and some are more low-key but equally obvious about showing their attitudes, usually with a gesture of rolling eyes, or a sharp intake of breath when an opinion is mentioned that they don’t agree with. I’ve never been in a place where food attitudes were so important socially.

One day I was considering this fact, and I started thinking about writing a monologue that would push the envelope on dramatizing the food attitudes of urban and rural Americans.

As a serious example of such dramatization, I remembered an excellent monologue named A CHIP ON MY SHOULDER by Carol K. Mack, which appeared in the League of Professional Women’s New Play Festival in 2009 at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. In it, a woman named Annie, played by Kathryn A. Layng, gives a speech at a podium thanking Monsanto for its strides in food manipulation and production. She refers to an implanted electronic chip which the company has offered, and is now becoming a normal part of American life. It was a truly intelligent and chilling piece.

With admiration for Carol’s satire, I was inspired to move in the other direction, and my mind took a wildly comic turn. What if a group of female farmers, due to their feminist leanings, decided only grow to food that is round, or round-ish? What if they went further and banished phallic-shaped objects from their diets? What would cause them to do such a thing? And what if we visited them on the day that this new food movement was rolled out to the public?

And so, OFEM, or, the Ovo-Farmer’s Emerging Network was conceived.

Its leader, Sally Parsons, is giving a speech to launch the network, and stands at the podium in iconic magnificence, like Rosie the Riveter and Emma Goldman combined. Her speech has the passion of an early 20th—century union organizing appeal. As she rails against the “Farmer Man”, she goes over the top with a litany of vegetables and fruits which will and will not be grown by OFEM. And at the end, like a suffragette leading the charge to new freedoms and rights, she invites her listeners to participate in the movement and usher in a new era for humanity.

Sally is over the top, and obviously, her message is larger than life, but it makes a point about attitudes toward food consumption, both slightly mocking, and also, deeply respectful, because it points to the power – the anarchism, one could say – of influencing society’s attitudes by taking independent control of food production. I love her enthusiasm. Isn’t it anarchic to make a stand against oppressive food attitudes? And also against mainstream food growth systems, whether they’re corporations, or family businesses?

OFEM expresses what I consider a lot of time to be the silliness and offensiveness exhibited by privileged, wealthy foodies. I want to say to them, “Come on, people, it’s food. It’s nutrition. Be thankful for the hard work of the people who labor to bring it to you.”

At the same time, I respect their choices. Food consumption involves personal, ethical, financial and sometimes medical choices that I might not be aware of.  So in the end, who am I to judge?

I hope that everyone will enjoy Sally’s speech. Who knows? Maybe I’ve created a viable movement! Power to the farmer!

 

 

 



EXPANDED DRAMATURGIES WEBSITE

I discovered this magnificent resource on the artistry, practice, and theory of dramaturgy and want to share it with everyone! I used the authors’ book Dramaturgy and Performance in my class at Muhlenberg College a few years ago. It is a wonderful textbook.

http://expandeddramaturgies.com/

This site documents, frames and disseminates aspects of research carried out by Cathy Turner and Synne K. Behrndt. Theywork together and separately to research dramaturgy (and sometimes the dramaturg). They also share their individual research interests.

Synne K. BehrndtSynne K. Behrndt

In addition to and as part of their academic research, Synne works as a dramaturg for companies such as Fevered Sleep (UK) and others. Cathy works as an artist with Wrights & Sites.

There is a ‘Porous Dramaturgies’ in the side bar on the site for posts relating to the project between Cathy at the University of Exeter, working together with Duska Radosavljevic at the University of Kent, Hanna Slattne of Tinderbox (N.Ireland) and Shadow Casters (Croatia).

 



BCWJ Article – Preparing for Theatre Conferences

Here is my latest article for my Page & Stage column in the Bucks County Women’s Journal. You may download the article here: BCWJ Article – Preparing for Theatre Conferences by Anne Hamilton

Preparing for Theatre Conferences

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

Every year I attend the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. For a week, Metropolitan Community College hosts a multifaceted developmental program which includes productions, five MainStage readings, workshops, and more than twenty PlayLab readings.

The process starts when the conference puts out a call for play submissions in the fall. Plays come in from all over the world, are read and evaluated, and then the final plays are chosen. The process is similar for other play development conferences like Seven Devils, the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, and PlayPenn in Philadelphia.

When playwrights are looking to develop their work, they often send out their scripts to gain the widest range of experience. Having actors, directors and dramaturgs read the scripts in front of an audience allows the playwright to hear her work, and determine which areas are working, and which can be strengthened.

At Great Plains, a team of artists gathers for several rehearsals, and then presents the reading. A panel of professional playwrights, directors, educators and dramaturgs gives the playwright feedback, and then the playwright discusses the play with her assigned dramaturg. During the week, playwrights also take a variety of workshops, writing new work, and learning new approaches to creative inspiration.

As a Guest Artist, I really enjoy getting to know each new work, and then discussing the reading with its creator. Many scripts go on to great success with other festivals and conferences, as well as productions. It is a pleasure to continue a professional relationship with the playwrights, and to support them as they continue their submissions, and apply to professional training programs and graduate schools.

It is in every playwright’s best interest to actively research and submit to developmental workshops and conferences. The theatre starts with a rather level playing field in that every actor has to audition and learn to perform on stage, and every playwright has to submit and have her plays read and performed on stage. A conference can be a marvelous experience which pushes a writer’s career forward, and gives her a refreshing collaborative experience.

Anne Hamilton has 23 years of experience as a dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, The Wooster Group’s leading actress.

 

 



Demystifying Dramaturgy on Kanjy

http://blog.kanjy.co/editorial/anne-hamilton/

I am pleased to be working with Kanjy, a new global community for scriptwriters. Through Kanjy, writers connect with colleagues, find opportunities and share their work through secure, digital portfolios.

I will be sharing Kanjy news here on my blog, as well as on my twitter account @AnneHamiltonlit.

Demystifying Dramaturgy

I am often asked, “What is a dramaturg?” My answer is that I am a literary and historical advisor.

However, there are many functions and specialties within the field, and each dramaturg is an artist with unique training and experience, and a unique process. The beauty of working in this field is that I can create a collaborative relationship on every new project, based on the needs of the playwright, director, or production. New York City is my artistic home.

I love working on new projects. As a freelance dramaturg, they include new play development, historical research, and new musical development. I often try to help the playwright find development and production opportunities when the play is finished. Once playwrights are on my radar, I try to be very helpful and push their careers forward.

The essence of my practice is listening carefully to what playwrights need – sometimes they are aware of an area they want help with, and other times they just want a second set of eyes to review what’s on the page, and then a discussion on how to strengthen their vision.

I am currently working on several new plays and musicals, both privately and for organizations. Tom Cavanaugh, a long-time collaborator, has a reading of BEHOLD at the Blank Theatre in Los Angeles this month, and Warren Bodow, a second-act playwright residing in New York City and Tucson, Arizona, has just finished a new comedy called THE GUY ON FIRST BASE.

In my first year as a dramaturg for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, I am advising Alexis Fishman on developing DER GELBE STERN, which had a successful run in Australia recently and is part of NYMF’s Next Link Series, headed for a production in NY in July. Also, I’ve advised the development of PUMPED, with libretto by Marla Woodhill, JD Jacobsen and Nicole Jacobsen, and music and lyrics by the terrific new team of Kyle Ewalt and Michael Ian Walker. I’ve also helped Chicago-based singer and writer Jillann Gabrielle with her one woman show HEDDA, on the gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.

In addition, I evaluate scripts, new play competitions, teach workshops, and serve as Guest Artist at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

I work with artists across the country and across the world, from beginners to veterans. And I get a thrill out of engaging in the process which allows great theatre to happen.

Anne Hamilton

Anne Hamilton is the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international consultancy based in New York City’s professional scene, and located in Bucks County, PA. She has over twenty years of experience across the country and internationally. The majority of her clients are located in N.Y. and L.A. Her clients have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur “Genius” Award, the Tony ® Award, and a Royal Court International Residency. In 2009, STAGE DIRECTIONS magazine named her a “trailblazer” in American dramaturgy.

Hamilton has consulted with Andrei Serban, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, the Harold Prince Musical Theatre Institute, Michael Mayer, Lynn Nottage, Yehuda Ne’eman, Classic Stage Company, B.T. McNicholl, Tina Andrews, NYSCA, Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater, Leslie Lee, Andrew Barrett, The New York City Public Library’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and the Great Plains Theatre Festival.

She produces and hosts Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow!, a podcast series featuring some of the most important contemporary female theatre artists working in America. Podcasts can be downloaded at http://www.hamiltondramaturgystheatrenow.com.

Hamilton may be reached at (tel) 215-536-1074 EST, or  hamiltonlit@hotmail.com.  (www.hamiltonlit.com, https://hamiltondramaturgy.wordpress.com)

 



Great Plains Theatre Conference Announces Playwright Selections

Once again, I will attend the GPTC in Omaha, Nebraska as a Guest Artist, to give my dramaturgical feedback to the selected playwrights and their new works below. I will appear on panels with Kia Corthron, who is the 2014 Honored Playwright. My fellow dramaturg respondents are Walter Byongsok Chon and Heather Helinsky. The conference will take place from May 24th to May 31st.

MainStage

  • Matthew Bennett, The Cause — Salt Lake City, UT
  • Cody Daigle, In the Bones — Scott, LA
  • David Hilder, Drown — New York, NY
  • John Morogiello, Civilizing Lusby — Montgomery Village, MD
  • Josh Wilder, Leftovers — Minneapolis, MN

PlayLab

  • Tiffany Antone, Twigs and Bone — Waco, TX
  • Claudia Barnett, Witches Vanish — Lascassas, TN
  • Anne Bertram, The Good Fight — Minneapolis, MN
  • James Christy, Egyptian Song — Princeton, NJ
  • Murphi Cook, Birds of America — Pittsburgh, PA
  • Nancy Cooper Frank, Daniil Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs — San Francisco, CA
  • Jennifer Faletto, Bathroom Hate — Boulder, CO
  • Lindsey Ferrentino, Ugly Lies the Bone — Merritt Island, FL
  • Daniel Giles, Sea Change — Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jessica Lewis, Knock Off — Brooklyn, NY
  • Bonnie Metzgar, You Lost Me — Chicago, IL
  • Tira Palmquist, Two Degrees — Irvine, CA
  • Robert Plowman, The Route 19 Roadside Choir Of Dead Babies Invites You To Visit “The Fountain of Youth” Museum & Gift Shop — Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Dean Poynor, Together We are Making A Poem In Honor Of Life — New York, NY
  • Cecelia Raker, Skinwalking — Brighton, MA
  • Amy Schleunes, IHOP Is No Rent-A-Center — Granada, Nicaragua
  • Jordan Seavey, The Third Thing — Brooklyn, NY
  • Celine Song, The Feast — Brooklyn, NY
  • Eva Suter, We Only Go Home in Retrograde — Austin, TX
  • Michael Tooher, The Perfect Sameness of Our Days — Portland, ME
  • Evan Twohy, Permission — Brooklyn, NY
  • Jennie Webb, Crazy Bitch — Los Angeles, CA
  • Nia Witherspoon, The Messiah Complex — Tallahassee, FL
  • Michael Yichao, Goose — Burbank, CA


THE ROUTLEDGE COMPANION TO DRAMATURGY – Coming soon

I’m very excited that my article, “Freelance Dramaturgs in the 21st Century: Journalists, Advocates and Curators” will appear in this new textbook, edited by Magda Romanska.

cover image

http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415658492/

It’s available for pre-order now.

Dramaturgy, in its many forms, is a fundamental and indispensable element of contemporary theatre. In its earliest definition, the word itself means a comprehensive theory of “play making.” Although it initially grew out of theatre, contemporary dramaturgy has made enormous advances in recent years, and it now permeates all kinds of narrative forms and structures: from opera to performance art; from dance and multi-media to filmmaking and robotics.

In our global, mediated context of multi-national group collaborations that dissolve traditional divisions of roles as well as unbend previously intransigent rules of time and space, the dramaturg is also the ultimate globalist: inter-cultural mediator, information and research manager, media content analyst, inter-disciplinary negotiator, social media strategist.

This collection focuses on contemporary dramaturgical practice, bringing together contributions not only from academics but also from prominent working dramaturgs. The inclusion of both means a strong level of engagement with current issues in dramaturgy, from the impact of social media to the ongoing centrality of interdisciplinary and intermedial processes.

The contributions survey the field through eight main lenses:

  • world dramaturgy and global perspective
  • dramaturgy as function, verb and skill
  • dramaturgical leadership and season planning
  • production dramaturgy in translation
  • adaptation and new play development
  • interdisciplinary dramaturgy
  • play analysis in postdramatic and new media dramaturgy
  • social media and audience outreach.

Magda Romanska is Visiting Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dramaturgy at Emerson College, and Dramaturg for Boston Lyric Opera. Her books include The Post-traumatic Theatre of Grotowski and Kantor(2012), Boguslaw Schaeffer: An Anthology (2012), and Comedy: An Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2014).



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