Wrighting drama

With the holidays come invitations holiday parties, and with parties come the questions of “So what do you do?”

Depending on who I’m talking to, I’ll tell them how I pay my bills — “I drive a food truck” — how I want to pay my bills — “I’m a writer” — or what I’m actually working on right now — “I’m interning at Book-It as a dramaturg.”

The first two answers are pretty easy for people to digest. The third . . . not so much. Non-theatre people have never heard of a dramaturg. And plenty of theatre people aren’t clear on what, exactly, a dramaturg is or does. Many artists haven’t ever worked with one.

As a result, I’ve spent seven years assuring people that dramaturgy is not a word I made up on the spot and trying to explain what it is we do, with varying levels of success.

DAMMIT GRIFF I thought I told you to stop making up animals Continue reading

Book-It’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Uncensored”

Geoffery Simmons as Jim and Christopher Morson as Huck in Book-It’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Uncensored.” The play runs through May 12, 2013. Click the picture for more info. Photo by Alan Alabastro.

I should say at the outset that I’m simultaneously a biased and an unbiased reviewer for this show. Biased because my roommate was the dramaturg for the production; unbiased because, well . . .

When the house lights came up for intermission, I leaned over to tell Alex how much I was enjoying it and congratulate him on how good the show was. “And now we come to the second act,” he said, “which I like to describe as being like if the Mississippi suddenly ended in Niagra Falls.”

“So is this the part where I confess that I’ve never actually read Huck Finn?”

“I kind of figured judging by your reactions.”

Wishbone the dog relaxing on a stack of classic Western novels.

You don’t understand how traumatized I was when I found out that most versions of “Faust” end with Faust being dragged to Hell. It was really bad.

So yes. This is the problem with having gone to a weird alternative secondary school (and to a lesser extent a weird gifted elementary school where Jerry Spinelli and Lois Lowry were required reading): I may have read Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in eighth grade, Howard Zinn and “By the Waters of Babylon” in tenth, and Black Elk Speaks senior year, but I only read standard novels like To Kill a Mockingbird and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when we got a new, older, more conservative teacher who clearly desperately wanted to inject some established order into the school and realized she could only get people to sign up for her class by making it about books that had been adapted into movies. And then I went to college and read Elizabethan/Jacobean plays for four years. In short, for someone with an undying interest in the written word, I’m kind of hilariously illiterate, and my exposure to a lot of classics is more thanks to Wishbone than anything.

So I went into Book-It’s production of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Uncensored prepped to enjoy it, because my friend had worked on it, and with almost no idea of what I was getting into.

Continue reading