Katherine Profeta’s second chapter focuses on the connection between research and the role of the dramaturg. In her portrayal of the relationship between the two, she breaks down the definition of the term ‘research’ quite profoundly; she dissects the word into two categories, as ‘an act of compilation’ (62) and as ‘an act of creation’(63). This precise dissection of the word is well aligned with the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary’s definition of research as a ‘studious inquiry or examination aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws.’This definition encompasses both the idea of rediscovery and the idea of new discovery as Profeta suggests in her chapter.
Profeta then uses this definition of research to uncover the layers that build the evolving role of a dramaturg, in the later section of the chapter. She explains that the role of the dramaturg extends in two ways, as ‘someone who enjoys both the thrill of the archival hunt, and the subsequent winnowing down to collate the material most “pertinent” “significant” “relevant” …thus dramaturgs land firmly in the first register of research but [this description] suggests that they must be able to attend to the likelihood of movement toward the second.’ (68) This explanation conveyed that a dramaturg’s role encompasses both the aspects of research, that were previously discussed, due to its’ evolving and fluid nature. The use of words such as “archival hunt” also emphasizes the presence of curiosity within research. Profeta accentuates the necessity of this curiosity in a creative role such as a dramaturg’s as she explains that ‘a spark of curiosity for exploration within any sort of archive is crucial to a creative process.’ (69) This quote also introduces the possibility of a dramaturg’s role being a portrayal of questions ,that arise from curiosity, rather than a series of answers to a systematic research.
I chose the word ‘research’ due to its’ strong influence on education today. More educational institutions (high schools and universities alike) are shifting from traditional, memory-based learning to curiosity driven, self-propelled learning that thrives on research. This is observed in many scenarios, for example, the International Baccalaureate diploma program (a high school program for 16-19-year old students) has a 4000-word research paper requirement on a student’s topic of interest. Moreover, an increasing number of universities are encouraging dissertations and research projects at the undergraduate and graduate level. This necessity for research is apparent in most professional fields too (other than the science fields) such as marketing, product design, politically affiliated roles, and dramaturgs among many others. The ability to conduct an effective research has become an integral skill in today’s times.Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary "Definition of Research." Accessed 6 Jan 2018. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/research. Profeta, Katherine. 2015. Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance. Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press,
This is a great post – I only wish you took your final paragraph to a more complex question rather than an conclusion. For the intervention that Profeta makes is that inquiry which is a mode of discovering new knowlege forms and concepts can be undertaken in artistic practice as well as in either the traditional science or humanities based disciplines. Usually art is thought of more as the expression of something understood in one or many other disciplines — as only an innovative form of communication. But here Profeta is saying that in conceiving of forms of cultural encounters and in structures of artistic practice – in this case dance – it also can be considered as research that can be expressed and presented in its own form — not to be translated through other types of humanities scholarship such as writing. That is the important intervention in her assertion.