Craig and I are sweating up a storm in Lincoln, Nebraska! Why Lincoln? Didn’t you know it’s a hot bed of high school theatre? Lincoln is where every year the International Thespian Festival takes over for a week. 2013 marks our 10th festival and this year is the 50th anniversary for ITF. It’s a theatre lovers dream – you wake up, eat, see theatre, eat and spend the afternoon going to workshops and one acts. Then in the evening there’s more theatre! You can interview and audition for theatre schools. You can buy plays from all kinds of publishers. You can even play a part in a brand new play, which is a very special program that I’m involved with this year.
The Thespian Playworks Program takes four student playwrights (who were chosen out of 73 submitted plays) and over the course of Festival, they get to have their plays workshoped, staged as a reading, and performed in front of a packed house at the end of the week. Each playwright is assigned a dramaturg and a director and we rehearse every day. This is my first year acting as a dramaturg for Playworks and I am beyond excited. There’s something electric about watching a student see their work come alive for the first time. I love playing a part in that process.
The pace is fast and furious. Auditions are today, the cast list went up after lunch and the first rehearsal is this afternoon. The main thing that my playwright and I are talking about is matching intention with product – is what you want for the play, and the audience response, on the page? That is the dramaturg’s job: find out what the playwright wants to achieve and work with them to make that happen. I’m looking forward to getting started!