Friday, February 10, 2017

Meet Jo Avery, the Dramaturg for SouthFork Confessions

1. Jo, what is a dramaturg and what is your role as one?
It seems there are about as many definitions of dramaturg as there are people who do it. A dramaturg is a frequent collaborator with the playwright and/or director.  They may help the actors to understand and interpret their characters. While they are typically much more than a librarian, who just researches aspects of a production, in the case of SouthFork Confessions that has been my primary role. I have found historical information for Chrissie, and have also obtained permission to use copyrighted music and poetry, for example.

2. Tell us about your background and how it related to this job, and what challenges you faced?

I had never previously worked in theater before. But I was a school librarian for many years, so I have knowledge of the research process. Locating historical information, such as the poetry of Black Bart, was fun and well within the scope of my skills. Finding copyright information for the music was another story altogether. I don't have a music background, and the laws regarding music copyright are quite complicated. Helping to ensure that we stay within the law and respect the intellectual and artistic property of others has proven to be a serious responsibility. Chrissie recently told me that in professional theater dramaturgs can make big bucks - I can see why now!