One aspect of dramaturgy is the research that goes into the theatermaking process. Commonly referred to as production research, this work involves finding information that can be used to explore the many facets of a play: its author, context in our world and the world of the play, production history, critical analysis and interpretation, images and sounds, and sources, influences, and analogues.
Use these questions to guide your research about the context of the play.
a. Why was it written?
b. What was it responding to?
c. What was the historical/political/social climate of the time?
d. How does it fit into the playwright’s career/larger body of work?
e. What was the play asking/proposing at the time?
In this section of the production portfolio, you will want to give the reader a sense of the culture and context that this work came out of in order to support your vision for a current production.
Use these questions to guide your research about production history.
a. What is the production history of this play (where and when were the significant productions)?
b. How was it received?
c. What notable artists have worked on it?
d. What design, casting, staging or producing choices were made?
e. Why were those choices successful/unsuccessful in their time/location?
f. What has contributed to the success/failure of this play in the past?
g. What aesthetic choices elevated/opened up the piece?
h. What aesthetic choices collapsed the piece?
This portion of the portfolio will benefit both from critical analysis as well as visual research images to support your reading.