Ellen: What drew you to this project? And how long have you been working on it?
Dave: What drew me to the project originally was my interest in classical theatre. I thoroughly enjoy exploring the complex dramaturgical investigations that come with work on a Shakespeare text. The riches offered in his plays allow for daring choices to any production of his work. As dramaturgs, I believe we are given a role as player of nuance: an artist that is afforded the opportunity to excavate a text, and ideally that excavation can often have little to no restrictions in terms of depth of meaning. And Shakespeare is lauded for his supply of depth. Also, Niky, as director and actor, has excelled in commedia, an art form defined by freedom and restriction; as a person, collaborating with him was also a joy and attraction to the project.
Ellen: Can you give us a seven-word synopsis/blurb of the play? Or perhaps a haiku that acts as a blurb?
Dave: A search for humanity covered by archetypes.
Ellen: How did you function as a dramaturg for each piece? How often were you in the room? What kind of research did you do?
Dave: Before the rehearsal process I was in dialogue with Niky, discussing all manner of psychology and metaphor (over the summer break). I also was charged with assisting the editorial process of the piece in concert with both Niky and a German dramaturg. Once rehearsal began, I was not as needed in the room. I found my absence from the rehearsal most challenging. As a dramaturg, I often find myself in the room for a majority of the process, yet for this piece we all thought that the production needed to grow without any hint of critical obligations. It seemed best for the production to submerge itself in this world of the play, coming up for any assistance from me only when needed.
Ellen: What was the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of the rehearsal process?
Dave: It was challenging to work in what I thought to be a German model of dramaturgy. The play is geared towards a German production in an upcoming international festival held in Germany and as such my work methods varied radically from what I am used to. Essentially, I helped to research the piece and supply research material, though only rarely commenting on the process as a whole. It was illuminating to discover this sort of dramaturgical assistance.
Ellen: What are you up to next? (If it is a project how can we see it?)
Dave: Hopefully I can finish my own thesis now: Henry James and a failed dramaturgy. Though in the immediate future, as literary manager for the Amoralists, I am launching with the company our first play development series: the Amoralab. Our premier is on November 2, with each month thereafter offering opportunities for playwrights to have their works connect with new audiences. Hope to see you there.
Ellen: Merci mille fois to Dave Carter for taking the time to share his thoughts! I already have my ticket. All the cool kids will be there, so you can get yours here.