A recent court case involving the dramaturg for the musical Rent has focused attention on the role of the dramaturg in creating theatre. It's also focused attention on the fact that the term "dramaturg" (also spelled "dramaturge") may be the oddest job title in performing arts since "Best Boy" in films.
The word "dramaturg" means "playwright" in Polish, so it's not really even an accurate term to describe someone who works closely with the playwright in the preparation of a new work, or with a director in the preparation of a new production.
So let's try to come up with a better term. Be as imaginative/funny as you like. Include an explanation if you think your suggestion needs one.
Please post responses to Dramaturg Poll. Here are the results so far. Playbill thanks all those who took the time to write.
How about "That weird guy with the books"?
I don't think it needs any explanation, really.
But seriously, something like "Drama consultant" or the more pretentious "aesthetics expert" always seem to spell it out among my associates.
Complete title for dramaturg:
He that knows everything about every subject in a play
He that can answer the most inane questions asked by the director
These are new names for Dramaturg.
Drama-Goniff ("Goniff" is the Yiddish word for "thief.")
1st. Runner-up Playwright (should for whatever reason, the actual playwright not be able to fulfill his/her duties due to mysterious disappearance.)
Gym Teacher (as in "those who can't do, teach and those who can't teach, teach gym.")
Wanbee (as in "I Wanna-Be a Playwright too"). This species is all too common in creative fields.
A Drama-Yapper (Yaps at the heels of other Playwrights)
Wannawright - an assistant to the playwright who is either honing his/her own skills; or lacks the chutzpah to put their own words down on paper.
This entry is from a playwright who finds the whole use of a dramaturg superfluous, based on my experience of working with several prominent directors who as well feel dramaturgs tend to hinder more often than help a production.
From Steven Bloom:
As a professional dramaturg, I always call myself "collaborator", because theatre is truly a collaborative art form, and that is precisely what I do.
One playwright actually called me, "Yoda", after the wise character in Stars Wars.
What about Artistic Liaison?
What about PlayExtra?
What about Playscribe?
What about Dramarine?
From John Esche:
If there is to be a new in-house term for the respected position of Dramaturg in the light of the power (and money) grab attempt by the woman who gave the late Jonathan Larson some support and assistance in preparing his breakthrough production of RENT, I'd suggest "Professional Iago"; ie. a jealous assistant of occasional dubious worth not to be trusted to accept his or her role as support staff, but assumed to be scheming to gain credit for the work of the superior.
REAL Dramaturgs have proved invaluable to numerous theatre companies in the evaluation and preparation of challenging seasons. The rare cases of overreaching do no service to the profession. Renaming the post hardly seems as necessary as clarifying the background and support nature of the role.
From Mark A. Tapia:
Dramaturge : a playwright prodder who can reverse roles and, in cases of transference, can become the playwright. A chameleon to others' words.
From Kayla Solomon, (email@example.com):
Dramaturg: The person who plays the collaborative role between the playwright (if alive), the director, and the culture of the play itself and the surrounding world around it. Job duties include: research, criticism, design attribution and study, providing background information and artistic influence to make the production a whole experience and full embodiment of the story/theme/messages of the play.