Edited by Katalin Trencsényi and Bernadette Cochrane, London: Bloomsbury, 2014
As a maker of and writer about theatre, I often find myself wanting different, often contradictory, things from literature on the subject. With my critic’s hat on, I’m interested in the way in which a particular subject can plug into the wider landscape, to give a better understanding of the form for the reader and open up discourse. As someone who makes the stuff, however, I find myself looking for technical insight and ideas which can help my own practice. Granted, these two things aren’t mutually exclusive, but it can be hard to find texts which satiate both appetites. Reading Richard Eyre’s National Service, for example, you get the feeling that anyone would find this fascinating, whilst Stephen Unwin’s The Complete Brecht Toolkit is clearly written for a far more niche audience.
Reading New Dramaturgy: International Perspectives on Theory and Practice, I get the sense that its editors Katalin Trencsenyi and Bernadette Cochrane were attempting to satisfy both these hungers when compiling the contributions. There’s something inordinately fascinating in the differing approaches of the practitioners, critics and academics in this book to the subject of ‘New Dramaturgy’, but rather than trying to iron out those creases, they are laid bare by association. One moment, for example, you’re reading about the dramaturgy of music composition, before then reading an in-depth report on an academic conference on the subject.
Please, follow the link to read the full review on Dan Hutton's website: