What is Dramaturgy?
Dramaturgy is 'the art or technique of dramatic composition and theatrical representation.' ... but what exactly does that mean?
The role of a dramaturge can vary depending on the needs of individual productions. For Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, dramaturgy has meant researching, advising/informing and representing.
Analysing the play
The era(s) in which the play has been set
The location in which the play is set
Specific people and places mentioned within the play ... and so on
Many playwrights whose work is in production today are no longer alive. In this case, it is the responsibility of the dramaturge to represent to the best of their ability the wishes of the playwright. Particularly in the case of playwrights such as Arthur Miller and Sam Shepard, who where very particular in wanting their plays depicted the way they intended them. Even in the case of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, where Alan Ball is still alive, it is important for the dramaturge to have a good understanding of the playwright's intentions, background etc - the things that have had an impact on the style and purpose of the play.
In addition to researching, advising/informing and representing, the dramaturge is responsible for providing program notes.
The following resource explores dramaturgy and give explanations for the term: http://www.dramaturgy.net/dramaturgy/