The dramaturgy of our lives

I’ve been thinking lately about the dramaturgy of life. If social constructs and categories (i.e. race, gender, sexual identity, ect.), cause us to ‘perform’ in life (i.e. gender performativity) then are we the dramaturgs of our own lives? After all, as Shakespeare says, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts” Is not dramaturgy what leads us to change roles? A changing of what we need to be as defined by our circumstances? New parts of ourselves becoming relevant and needed? Aren’t we constantly contextualizing what is going on with us to our ‘viewers’ or those around us? Is therapy nothing but the forming of a dramaturgical concordance? We look into our past to understand our present in the same way that a dramaturgy researches terms and ideas referenced in the play. Often these are historical and help to make sense of the plays’ present world, just like therapy helps us make sense of our present. This idea hit me while reading a blog that I often peruse, written by my old director’s partner who has a non-traditional gender identity. Her (She identifies as a woman, but not in the patriarchal gender roles sense) post describing her gender identity reminded me of dramaturgy. The dramaturgy of our lives. Making sense of ourselves and others in the larger context of society. Making choices that make us accessible or inaccessible to society, the same way a dramaturg does for a piece of art. We are the living art, making conscious or unconscious dramaturgical decisions everyday. Some food for thought.

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