Pillbox

Chemers’ book delves into dramaturgy

This past Wednesday, students, faculty, and community members alike gathered in the Carnegie Mellon bookstore to celebrate the release of a faculty member’s book. Michael Mark Chemers, an assistant professor in the School of Drama and the founder and director of the school’s bachelor’s degree program in dramaturgy, released his newest book, Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy.

Considered by many to be an essential book for all theater practitioners, Chemers’ book explains to readers exactly what dramaturgy is and what a dramaturg, or someone who studies dramaturgy, does.

All in all, it seems quite appropriate that a major like this one has found its way to Carnegie Mellon. In the theater world, dramaturgy is considered the science of drama. Those who study dramaturgy are involved in every step of the creative process, from directing to costuming to editing to cutting. A dramaturgy major learns the ropes of the entire theater process and uses that knowledge in the process of perfecting production.

Chemers explains the intricate studies of dramaturgy majors. Because it involves theater history and practice, critical theory, and world history, a dramaturgy major is an essential component of a production’s creative team.

The book’s Amazon profile explains how Ghost Light is divided into three parts. The first part of Chemer’s book explores the philosophy and history of dramaturgy, explaining what those who study the subject do. It also includes an explanation of the critical theories necessary to analyze texts associated with dramaturgy. The second part of the book explores the practice of dramaturgy and explains how the dramaturgy major can be used to collaborate with those involved with a production. The third part of the book is a guide for students: It includes a series of exercises and assignments that are classroom appropriate.

It’s always exciting when a Carnegie Mellon faculty member is honored through publication, but it’s especially wonderful to see a genre of theatrical studies emerge here at Carnegie Mellon. Hopefully, universities and students around the world will realize the benefits of dramaturgy and include this text in their study.