Thursday, March 31, 2011

WTF Is Devised Theater, pt. 3

A look at how playwrights fit into devised theater:

So, why do I, as a playwright, do devised theatre?

You see, I have a box. It’s made up of my experience, my preconceived notions, my talent, my skill. It’s made up of my limits. I work in it, I live in it, I think in it. A few years ago, I began to make a concerted effort to expand my box. For my MFA thesis, I wrote a play that included music, dancing, a drag show, and a slew of Erik Ehn-inspired impossible stage directions–all things that I loved seeing on stage, but had never attempted to put there myself. Afterwards, my box was a lot roomier. But like a goldfish, my ambitions grew to fill their environment.


So, would I ever give up writing plays on my own to do devised work full time? Probably not. I have too many stories to tell, and our devising process is a slow burn. But because of working in that process, my box is constantly expanding and the stories I tell are the richer for it.

Devised theater isn't just about firing the playwrights.

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