The Secrets Are Yours
Part of the Invisible Diaries series:
Week 6 / Day 2
Like yesterday, today also felt very strange. At varying points throughout the day, I felt like my attention was split into a million pieces that scattered to the wind – but then came back and reassembled. I think that is one of the downsides of having to work from home: my office centers me in terms of productivity and getting things done, and being away from there has made me have to find other coping mechanisms. Today was a bit of a fail in terms of getting pressing things done.
I did manage to start my day at 9 a.m. with some notes on a play I am reading – Restalrig by Lindy Logan. I am enjoying the playwright and the play, which helped bring some focus to my morning.
Then, I moved into the first of two digiturgy workshops at Yale.
The conversations we started today were a lot of fun, with students from a variety of theatrical practices – designers, dramaturgs, directors, theatre administrators, etc. We began a large discussion about how digiturgy can aid in storytelling that encompassed everything from branding oneself as an artist through websites and social media to the creation of Twitter plays. From there, we moved on to what digiturgy looks like in a professional setting, and how that is adjusted for an educational one.
For example, we talked about what I and my Associate Dramaturg had planned for the rehearsal room in the Covid-canceled production of black odyssey at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We desired to have a room covered in posters about the themes, images and associated historical events in the play, but those posters also included QR codes so that anyone in the room who wanted to know more could be linked back to an informational website we had created. We also talked about actor packets in website form for higher education and audience engagement, including the example of a social media scavenger hunt invented by one of my student dramaturgs for SUNY New Paltz’s production of Into The Woods.
Delving into the curation of narrative through digital archives of a website, we started to think through the dramaturgy of how even casual audience engagement with a website can be the place where the story begins. We reflected on the pros and cons of digiturgy, and how that shifts depending on what digital space you are occupying. Copyright also came up. It was a fun conversation, and that three hours went by super quick!
I worked on some LMDA administrative tasks today after that, as well as some dramaturgy-related projects associated with SUNY New Paltz – rewriting the duties of the dramaturg in our department’s Production Handbook, for example. The duties currently listed in the production handbook predate my employment there, and the field has shifted and changed so much that it was definitely time for updating.
Next thing I knew… it was 4:50 p.m. It is time to walk the dog! The woods behind my house are so interesting to me. The shapes between the branches tend to provoke my imagination and provide comfort and strength. There is a tangled mess of trees and their limbs in the woods and a bed of mossy goodness underneath them – yet they all seem to work in harmony with one another. They touch, reach around, struggle for light, and are assaulted by the woodpeckers and chipmunks that have made this place their home, yet somehow survive. Thinking about that helps me reset. If they have the resilience and fortitude to keep on growing towards the light – I can find it too! Plus, I love this time I get to have with my spouse and my dog. It is amazing how I can be in the house with them all day, yet not have a chance to interact with them.
I am always thankful for the pause in “busy” that the walk provides.
I returned with just enough time to gather myself for a Zoom call with some collaborators. We are working on a “brief but powerful” piece, as one of them remarked – maybe it will be a podcast? Maybe it will be something else? We are not sure. The only thing we are sure about is that we want to stretch the possibilities for the digital frame / realm / time that we are in right now. We are interested in secrets – how they are told / discovered / used – and if they are ever truly yours…
I don’t have an answer for that right now. Maybe I will have some thoughts by the next time we meet!
Martine Kei Green-Rogers is an Assistant Professor at SUNY New Paltz and President of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.
Her dramaturgical credits include: The Greatest with the Louisville Orchestra; Four Women Talking about the Man under the Sheet and Silent Dancer at Salt Lake Acting Company; Fences and One Man, Two Guvnors at Pioneer Theatre Company; Clearing Bombs and Nothing Personal at Plan-B Theatre; Sweat at the Goodman; productions of King Hedley II, Radio Golf, Five Guys Named Moe, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Gem of the Ocean, Waiting for Godot, Iphigenia at Aulis, Seven Guitars, The Mountaintop, Home and Porgy and Bess at Court Theatre; The Clean House at CATCO; Hairspray, Shakespeare in Love, UniSon, Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, Comedy of Errors, To Kill A Mockingbird, The African Company Presents Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Fences at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Headshot photograph by Joe Mazza.
Other photography courtesy of Martine Kei Green-Rogers.