For my Barrett Honors Thesis Creative Project, I will serve as a Sound Designer, Visual Media Designer (including elements of pixel mapping for projection and animation), Assistant Stage Manager and Dramaturg for iTheatre Collaborative's (a local professional theatre company) production of Permanent Collection written by Thomas Gibbons. The purpose is to use dramaturg research to inform aesthetic properties of this theatrical productions. The Sound Design will be a collection of manipulated published music, my own scores, cultural research music and interview voice recordings. The Visual Media Design will be a play between two projection installations I will create. The primary rear static projection will represent the mentioned art pieces in the script. For instance, a character may mention a Bamana mask. My job is to secure, edit and project the mask in a way that makes the mask seem physically present in the art gallery. The second element of Visual Media Design is a dreamscape of transitioning animated projection that floods the stage in an immersive encounter with art. As the Assistant Stage Manager of the production I had the opportunity to engage with the actors directly to learn what they needed in regards to the research I conducted as the Dramaturg. Dramaturgy is the act of dissecting, analyzing and researching theatrical scripts in an effort to ensure the clearest executions of the playwright's intent, the director's artistic vision and audience comprehension. Dramaturgs have a responsibility to the director, audience and play wrights to provide theatrical productions with all available history, context and options. The work of a Dramaturg consists of researching a production including social context and the general information about the circumstances of the production. They also compile program notes for the audience. Dramaturgs must have an understanding of the audience a play is presented to. A dramaturg is an important fixture in the production of a play. Dramaturgy, while it is rooted in theatre, it spans through areas of music and Visual Art making it and relevant to my major, Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance. History, Geography, Sociology and many other subjects will play into this project making it less field specific and more a marathon in exploring and trying to gain perspective on different fields of study. This creative project is about context and gaining perspective. That is the purpose of dramaturgy. Theatre is a discipline rooted in curiosity and empathetic rationality. I was once told by a theatre professor that as an actor one must "assume that every character is you if you were born in their circumstances." I don't think philosophers would agree with this statement and rightfully so. But I believe it does reflect an important world view that theatre requires, "empathy and gaining perspective." Dramaturgy is the practice of these values.
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