Dramaturgy or the art of thinking theater

The statement that heads this text would become, in fact, a valid definition for the difficult concept of dramaturgy. But if we really want to understand its meaning, we must first define exactly each of the words that make it up under pain of failing to grasp its ultimate and deepest meaning.

So let's start with the word Article, which is necessary to understand, yes, in the creative sense, but above all in the sense of craft or technique. It is (as the dictionary says) a skill, a skill acquired through experience, observation, study and, above all, practice. Art is, in effect, the practice of a creative skill that has become a habit, an intuition, a certainty.

The word think it must be understood in its broadest sense, that is, thinking as conceiving, judging, inferring, inventing, intuiting, synthesizing, conceptualizing, symbolizing, metaphorizing… Thinking is, in short, the most complex process through which one it triggers a burst of mental activity that allows us to imagine the world, anticipate our actions, penetrate the future, invent one beyond (as a religion or as fiction, it doesn’t matter).

The word theater, in the end, it is surely the most difficult to define, if only because of the diversity of arts and ways of thinking that come together. Theater is a collective art, in which playwrights (in the sense, this time, of playwrights), directors, actors, set designers, illuminators, musicians, costume designers and a long list of other trades take part. ranging from programmers, producers or publicists, to technicians and intriguers to any of the people who directly and indirectly participate in the theatrical event, such as, for example, and at the end of everything in the chain, the theater critic. For more complication we must not forget that the theatrical fact has the peculiarity of being performed live, with the simultaneous presence of performers and audience.

Well, precisely that is the dramaturgy. Ultimately, dramaturgy is all the ideas, however untimely and peripheral they may seem, that, expressed by any of the participants, contribute to solving the stage equation from the beginning of creation to the presentation to the audience. All the concretions that are on stage - the words of the actors, the actions, the facial expressions, the objects, the colors, the intensity of the light, the sound environments, the rhythm, the songs, the volume and the tone of voice, etc. - have been the result of this constant, cumulative, torrential reflection that must be called dramaturgy.

However, there is a much easier way to define the word dramaturgy, going back to its etymology. Dramaturgy, on the one hand, comes from the word δρᾶμα –drama– which refers to the performance, and which originates in the verb δραο –drao–, which means “I execute, I perform”; on the other hand, dramaturgy is formed with the addition of the suffix, -urgia, which comes from ἔργον –ergon–, which means work, work.

Dramaturgy would therefore be composing plays or, more simply, making theater. Well, that's the job of doing theater.

Pablo Ley, Head of the Department of Scenic Direction and Dramaturgy.