The Playwright

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Working with a Playwright

The following are observations and descriptions of how exactly the process evolved while working with our playwright Sarah Ruhl.

Sarah Ruhl

    Her plays include:  Passion Play, Melancholy Play, Eurydice, Late, Orlando, and Chekhov: Shorts.  Her plays have been heard at the Sundance Theatre Lab, New York Theatre Workshop, New Dramatists, McCarter Theatre, the Flea, Ohio Theater, New Georges, Children's Theatre Company, Trinity Repertory Company, Annex Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and Victory Gardens.  Her plays have been supported by commissions from McCarter Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Piven Theatre Workshop, as well as by residencies at the Millay Colony, Ragdale Foundation, and Ucross Foundation.  Melancholy Play can be seen on-line, and an excerpt from Passion Play can be seen in American Theater magazine.  She received her M.F.A. from Brown University and now lives in Providence, RI.


- face-to-face meetings

This was the only effective way we found to collaborate on this project. We discuss ideas much more efficiently. Almost all of the play was designed in our two meetings with Sarah.

- Interaction vs. Story

- As expected, the main "conflict" in collaboration was interaction vs. story. We wanted stronger interactions, while the playwright did not want the interactions to detract from
the text.

- Goal: create a play in which the technology and script strengthen the other, not hinder it

- Compromises were made on both sides in an attempt to keep this balance

- Our design order

    1. Theme -
    2. Interactions Interfaces - holding hands, biofeedback, mapping faces
    3. Script
    4. Specific Interactions

- Collaboration Summary

- In seven weeks and 2 face-to-face meetings we did the impossible
- "Theme" and "Interaction Interfaces" were excellent starting points


Politics in theater

- We survived theatre politics.  
- Theater has a new vocabulary for technologists to learn.
- Technologists have a a new vocabulary for theater to learn.
- Theater is filled with people reluctant to embrace technology.