The Dramaturg that never sleeps

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Post-Doctoral Fellow Toby Malone is a busy man this summer.  He is the supervising dramaturg on the Department's productions, both of which require preparation and work during the spring term.  He is prepping his two new courses - DRAMA 409 (Theatre Criticism) and DRAMA 371 (Theatre History).  He is the Dramaturg for King Lear and A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Stratford Festival.  He is undertaking his post-doctoral studies at the Stratford Archives...AND he is the resident Dramaturg and Text Editor for Driftwood Theatre's 20th Anniversary Season.

The company is dedicated to sharing classic stories. Their aesthetic is oneGroup of people staning around a bus of simple clarity: to tell the best stories and to tell them honestly.  They present mainly works by Shakespeare with others such as Morris Panych and Daniel MacIvor peppered amongst them.  They are also a touring company so the cast size is limited to 8 - 10 actors.  This presents a great challenge to Toby. He spends his winters cutting the script in order to get it down to under 2 hours and workable for the personnel available.  When asked about his experience at Driftwood, Toby stated:

Driftwood allows me to be creative and take risks, which I can't always do when I work with Stratford or Canadian Stage.  They let me make textual choices that might be risky.  For instance, when we decided to update the time frame for "The Tempest" this year I suggested that we change the shipwreck to a plane crash.  This involved re-writing most of the first scene to include more aeronautical language.

Many of you might ask what is a Dramaturg?  Toby's main responsibilities outside of text editing is to attend rehearsals and work one on one with actors on comprehension and the text.  He ensures that they know what it is they are saying and that they are saying it correctly.  He also becomes a second set of eyes for the director.  He will watch run-throughs of the show and give notes to the actors on things that others may not see.

Head and shoulder shot of Toby MaloneFor this year's season at Driftwood, Toby wrote an article outlining the ​history of the company and its growth over the past two decades.  He has been with Driftwood Theatre Group since 2008 and in that time his role has changed and grown as much as the company.  It has been the place where he has found his identity as a dramaturg.  

The Company has let me try things - sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.  But it is here at Driftwood that I have been able to refine my approach to the job and my style as a dramaturg.  It is this experience and approach that I teach the students at UWaterloo.

Driftwood Theatre Group is presenting The Tempest at Victoria Park in Kitchener on Thursday, August 14th.  To attend the performance, buy your tickets online.