From The Dramaturg

XX LAB: HOOKMAN

A Workshop Production of a new play by Lauren Yee

Hi, I’m the dramaturg. I’m the curator of this blog. I’d like to take this moment to tell you a bit about the process the play has traversed so far, and where it’s headed.

Lauren’s play came to our attention a little over a year ago. Around the same time, the Boston Center for the Arts conceived of XX PlayLab as an ongoing developmental program, with production, for female playwrights. For the inaugural year of XX, the BCA proposed a collaboration with Company One. Together, we chose Hookman, and began to plan a year of dramaturgically-guided play development – including two rehearsed, public readings – culminating in this workshop production.

Simultaneous with our work, Lauren has been developing the play with her professors and classmates as the University of California, San Diego, where she is in her final year of an M.F.A. Playwriting program, under Naomi Iizuka. This is a unique and serendipitous dual-development path.  As Company One is completing our rehearsal and production process, Lauren is gearing up for a second production at UCSD as part of the annual Baldwin New Play Festival. Not many playwrights have a chance to see what they’re created in front of an audience and immediately implement what they’ve learned for a second rehearsal process so quickly.

What I find most exciting about these productions – one here in Boston, one across the country – is that are truly developmental in nature. Neither is the world premiere, neither production reflects the “final” version that Lauren will eventually set in stone after she sifts through what both artistic teams and both sets of audiences might show her.  It is an uncommon opportunity that’s new for Company One as well; we’ve been able to work with a writer over a much longer period of time than we’ve previously had the privilege of doing.  XX PlayLab enables exactly the sort of developmental structure in which we believe: it’s nurturing, dramaturgically intensive, and culminates in full production of a play that is still in flux. For us, this is the essence of effective new play development; workshops and readings are important steps, but it’s production where playwrights discover most clearly the world of the play they’ve created. The audiences here are an integral part of the birth of this script, and are not the end point. We’re excited you’re a part of this journey.

Sincerely,
Ilana M. Brownstein
Dramaturg & Director of New Work

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