Spotlight on dramaturg Douglas Langworthy for CARBON BLACK

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Douglas Langworthy is currently the Literary Manager and Dramaturg at the Denver Center Theatre Company. Prior to Denver, he served as Dramaturg and Director of Play Development at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ for two years and Director of Literary Development and Dramaturgy at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) for seven. While at OSF he developed a new adaptation of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers with Linda Alper and Penny Metropulos and a new translation of Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechuan, both for the 1999 season. In 2007 he collaborated with Penny Metropulos and Linda Alper to write lyrics and book for the new musical Tracy’s Tiger, based on the novella by William Saroyan, with music by Sterling Tinsley. Doug has translated 15 plays from the German, which include Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind and The Prince of Homburg, Penthesilea and Amphitryon. His translation of Goethe’s Faust was produced in New York City by Target Margin Theatre.

Native Voices: How would you describe the field and/or profession of dramaturgy?
Doug Langworthy: I was typing the word “dramaturging” into the computer the other day, and the spell check, confused by the word, suggested “drama – urging”. Somehow I thought that really works as a definition of what we do: we urge drama along, cajoling, nudging and encouraging a play to become what it wants to become.

NV: What have been some of your favorite projects you've worked on as a dramaturg?
DL: Octavio Solis’s Lydia, Michele Lowe’s Inana and Rogelio Martinez’ When Tang Met Laika.

NV: What drew you to the profession of theatre?
DL: It takes my love of literature and puts it in an active relationship with other people.

NV: Which plays or playwrights have you been influenced by?
DL: Shakespeare, Brecht and Chekhov.

NV: If you could sit down and interview anyone from the past, who would that be?
DL: Without a doubt, Shakespeare. We know so little about his life. I would love to know about his writing process, how his acting informed his writing, what his relationship with Elizabeth was like and what inspired plays like The Merchant of Venice and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

NV: What's the longest standing item on your "To Do" list?
DL: Travel to India.

NV: What is your greatest indulgence?
DL: Ice cream.

NV: Fill in the blank: It's not theatre if it's not ___________.
DL: …making you feel and think.

NV: As you may know, our 2009-2010 Season marks Native Voices' Tenth Anniversary at the Autry. Where do you think theatre will be in the next ten years?
DL: Because of the economics of our times, there may be fewer theatres, but I think they will continue to fill a niche that otherwise goes unsatisfied: telling stories in a way that is immediate, emotional and thought-provoking.

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