According the Oxford English Dictionary, an advocate is someone who acts in someone else’s behalf. In terms of the performing arts, the dramaturg is sometimes presented as the audience’s advocate. However, this concept is highly debated as critics wonder whether the dramaturg is truly the advocate as then cannot really know thoroughly the people for whom they are acting . Nevertheless, the dramaturg is closest to the audience as they take the place of an audience before performance viewing the piece as an external perspective and is held responsible for invoking ‘questions of audience’.
In Dramaturgy in Motion, Profeta elaborates on the fact that an advocate should be working for a “well known, irreducibly diverse, impromptu future collective”. Therefore, the dramaturg is not really able to do this. However, she also argues that understanding the eventual audience and how they can define the space and time of the performance can be in some way a form of advocacy. In this way, as a member of the team that still holds some external influence, often being placed in the location of the audience, the dramaturg can preempt audience response and as such act ‘on behalf of the audience’. This then according to the dictionary definition of the advocate makes the dramaturg eligible to fill this role.
The concept of the advocate interested me as often there are plays, commercials and other forms of art that come off as controversial and sometimes down right offensive. The question is often asked whether no one on the creative team thought of the repercussions of these art pieces before opening for public display. The thought of the dramaturg fulfilling this role, even if not in the traditional form of the advocate appeals to me as I believe it to be essential in creating good art. A good dramaturg in my opinion should be able to allow the performers to push themselves creating something avant-garde that can still be appreciated within the social constraints of current society. Profeta, goes on to talk about how various pieces can address certain tricky, personal and social topics such as race and religion. With the dramaturg acting as the audience’s advocate can ensure that the messages of these pieces can be well received minimizing malice and defense that may be adopted by the audience.Oxford Dictionaries Accessed 6 Jan 2018. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/advocate.