While reading Dramaturgy in Motion, the phrase “concept guard” really caught my attention. The idea of concept guard is very similar to that of controlled media in which an authority or a powerful organization can control and manipulate what is being presented through these modes of communication. These concept guards can ensure a biased presentation of an idea for political reasons. A role of a concept guard can be played by both an individual or a team. In the case of an individual, it can be the playwright who is influenced by a political party. On the other hand, a production team, who has invested in a certain performance can also put restrictions on what is being presented through a performance.
Katherine Profeta, in her book Dramaturgy in Motion, uses two other phrases along with concept guard: ‘police dog’ and ‘concept Nazi’ (6,7). She points out that this role for a dramaturg was introduced though Brecht’s model if a dramaturg’s relationship to a philosopher is to ensure that their work is controlled by a political stance (7). She also provides with the example of Hitler who appointed a body to ‘label and ban performances’ and allow those to be presented which supported his propaganda (7). She claims that most dramaturgs are very reluctant of taking that role nowadays. However, they still have to suffer through the suspicion of people working with them who doubt their presence in a rehearsal room as an outsider (7).
The reason I chose this word was because it reminded me of what Aakash said during our first dance session with him. He talked about how what we see on media can be controlled or edited and it is very difficult to figure out how authentic what we are watching is. He claimed that in a live performance, everything is happening right before the eyes of the audience which might exempt it from any manipulations or editions. The idea of a concept guard made me wonder about the reality of a performance in theater. What if there is a dramaturg who ends up playing the role of a concept guard and present something that is not entirely true? It made me question if there is a way for the audience to distinguish a performance controlled by a concept guard from a performance that presented the reality of a situation.
Profeta, Katherine. 2015. Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance. Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press,