Reflections by Nidya Shanthini Manokara

12 September 2015, Reflections and Refractions. On Phase 1 of the Dramaturg Apprenticeship Programme under The Garage:

“Functioning as a critic and commentator within a production, the dramaturg is a highly valuable resource-without agency to dictate change. Embarking on this Apprenticeship with an open mind has allowed me to understand the intricacies involved with this vocation-one that I strongly believe is necessary for local theatre and dance productions alike.

The initial phase involved analyzing literature review and two mock dramaturgy tasks. The caucus and research element of the first Festival of Monodramas task pushed me out of my comfort zone due to the content. Nonetheless, my intention to specialize in dance dramaturgy has encouraged me to obtained scholarly writings on dance dramaturgy. Although I could draw on my expertise and experiences of working with Asian theatre practices-making the research work more manageable for the second intercultural theatre mock exercise-offering viable approaches to the intended host company was tricky but fulfilling.

A dramaturg provides research and approaches so that the director/choreographer can exercise artistic liberty. Building a relationship and interpersonal skills are extremely crucial.

In the upcoming phase where I am slated to be an observer-dramaturg for a few productions, I hope to hone this. This would sensitize the dramaturg to the performance integrity of the company before offering specialized knowledge for each unique production. This is what I am looking forward to.”

~ Nidya Shanthini Manokara, Dramaturg Apprentice 2015