The word dramaturg-weaver is not an official term concerning dramaturgy, therefore there is no definition that could be easily “googled”. It is used by Katherine Profeta in her book Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance and it seems to be specifically coined for the context it was used in. The first part of this compound word is dramaturg, which in itself is a word that needs some time defining and Profeta explains how the role of a dramaturg evolved through decades. Dramaturg’s work “extends beyond the text as a structure” (3) meaning that the dramaturg both examines and works closely with the text as well as with the performance part of the production. The second part of dramaturg-weaver has a more metaphorical purpose, as the word itself means a person who weaves fabric.
The author explores the role of a dramaturg and dramaturgical relationships through many lenses, one of them being the role of gender. Dramaturg-weaver refers to dramaturgy as “the threading together of a performance” (20). Cindy Brizzell and Andre Lepecki elaborated upon the “gendered helpmate/genius archetype model” and hence they connected the dramaturg’s role of threading to the historically feminine labor of weaving, which is why the term dramaturg-weaver was used. It refers to a dramaturg, who according to expectations needs to work carefully “with delicate moves, light touches”(20) so that she does not come off as trying to achieve any assertiveness and authorship. Because the role of a dramaturg is to solve problems and is expected to provide the right answers, as well as keep the production manageable, the dramaturg’s role has been feminized. The author describes the role as sometimes being tantamount to a good hostess who acts “with the caretaking born of etiquette” (21). According to Bojana Cvejic, the dramaturg is stereotypically viewed as a “long-suffering nurse or waitress” (21), because he or she offers a service and not a product. Of course, this view is only a stereotype and the gendered archetypes should be discarded.
I chose the word dramaturg-weaver because it evoked an image of a woman dramaturg trying to carefully communicate her ideas and I am assuming that this is what Katherine Profeta also wanted to achieve by constructing such a word. I thought the use of the word was smart, as it summarized the content of the following passage about gender associations very well. Although the word was mentioned only once, it gave the text a good metaphor of weaving, which is what the stereotype essentially is – the dramaturg is supposedly offering a service of threading. The idea of a “male creator and a female helpmate”(20) is oftentimes true, however, I personally never viewed the role of a dramaturg as such and maybe that is the reason why the word dramaturg-weaver surprised me.
Profeta, Katherine. “Introduction.” Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance, The University of Wisconsin Press, 2015, pp. 20–21.
This is a great keyword choice, and it’s important to explain, right at the topic sentence of the first paragraph, that you chose it because of it’s gendered connotations in Profeta’s text. What you are interested in exploring here is the function of the position itself and how it fits into a gendered labor stereotype – your last section, where you explore the “helpmeet” function should also be in the first paragraph. Because, what your post interrogates is if the job of the dramaturg has developed along gender lines — and I think about the “erasure” that Lou talked about yesterday where if a dramaturg does her job well, no one really knows what she does. Lou also noted that most often – what she does is take care of people. Profeta talks about that a bit too – like being an advocate for the West African dancers when Ralph wanted to use their spiritual practices without being aware what he was asking of them. So what you’re doing here is investigating whether the job is gendered – but you don’t say that right away and so you lose the impact of your question in this by just breaking down the word without using it to crack open dramaturgy as a complicated job that is essentially feminized whether it is done by a man or a woman. When I asked you to write a keyword essay, the second paragraph should be how the word functioned in the reading and the third paragraph takes on why this idea has meaning to you. Push harder to see both the “problem” in words and roles that follow normative gender configurations as well as look at the way in which the role contributes much to the making of a dance or piece of theater. And, does the dramaturg really “solve problems?” Some of your quotes are phrases that are taken out of context and not unpacked — usually a quote should be a longer idea that then has to be explained for the way in which it functions in the text. What I believe is that Profeta is explaining that the dramaturg notices gaps, problems and potential approaches to moving the work forward – but is not expected to the the person who fixes them – more that she or he prompts the works creator to see where the potential “fixes” might occur. A writing note: Titles of books should be italicized and did you highlight quotes and link them to the bibliography? It didn’t seem so when I read your post.