This week, CCM opens the Fall 2016 Mainstage Season with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. For this production, the creative team includes a collaboration with a senior art history major from UC’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP). Hope Rice teams up with the Romeo and Juliet crew to bring the show together as its “dramaturg.”
But what exactly is a dramaturg? And how is the role used for Romeo and Juliet? CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies reached out to Rice to find out more about her role in the production.
Rice’s interest in theatre was sparked after she took a few classes with CCM assistant professor of acting, Brant Russell — who also directs the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. She was then invited to join CCM’s TRANSMIGRATION in 2015 and is now pursuing an independent study in dramaturgy with Christine Mok, assistant professor of drama and performance in UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.
It’s always exciting to cast students from multiple departments in CCM productions. As a DAAP student, however, your involvement is unique. What was your experience like when you were previously cast in CCM’s TRANSMIGRATION?
I got to work with seven CCM Acting students in writing and performing our play. I became intimately acquainted with the logistics of writing a short play, the rehearsal and technical process and the performance. I had a small role with no speaking lines (at my request) because I originally wanted to be involved from a writing and directing position. My favorite experience from TRANSMIGRATION was getting to know the members of my team and creating a play that was meaningful to all of us. I also learned how collaboration and accountability are an intrinsic part of the process of getting the play from script to stage.
What is your role as dramaturg for Romeo and Juliet?
There are a lot of different ways to describe dramaturgy. Not just in this production, but in all shows, dramaturgs help to support the director’s vision by making sure that all elements that make up the play are coherent. Dramaturgs act as an outside eye to see connections between the script, actors and audience. So in the rehearsal process, dramaturgs observe acting, blocking, set design, sounds, etc. and take notes. We then meet with the director after rehearsals and discuss our thoughts. Dramaturgs support the concept of the play and help the director find elements to refine and enhance that vision.
How has your degree and experience in DAAP helped you in this role?
I am a senior in the art history program in DAAP with a focus in film studies. The art history program has taught me how to take apart an art work and analyze its pieces within the whole, while also considering its social, political and economic context and consequences. Dramaturging a play uses some of the same types of critical thinking.
What have you learned from working on Romeo and Juliet?
Besides TRANSMIGRATION, I have not seen a play develop from start to finish, so I have learned what that process is like from Romeo and Juliet. Specifically, I’ve been able to see how all the elements of a play — directing, acting, sound, light, design, dramaturgy, etc. — all collaborate and work to produce the show. Most importantly, I’ve learned that theatre would not be possible without collaboration. The CCM Acting program has a close community within and outside the theatre, and I’ve been able to see how that contributes to the magic of CCM productions.
Hope Rice will join CCM again in the spring for the annual TRANSMIGRATION festival. Catch a performance of CCM’s Romeo and Juliet this weekend to see her contribution as dramaturg reflected on stage.
Romeo and Juliet opens on Wednesday, Sept. 28 (preview) and runs through Sunday, Oct. 2 at CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.
• 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 (preview)
• 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29
• 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30
• 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1
• 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati
Tickets to Romeo and Juliet are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Tickets to the Sept. 28 preview performance are just $15.
Student rush tickets will be sold one hour before each performance to non-UC students for $12 or $15, based on availability. UC students can receive one free student rush ticket with a valid ID, based on availability.
Customizable subscription packages are also available for CCM’s 2016-17 Mainstage Series.
Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/romeo-and-juliet.
Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.
For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.
For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s
Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies