Posts by: Ilana Brownstein


AS OF MAY 2012: This site now serves as the archive of the BU DramaLit Blog. For current activity and new posts, please visit our new site:

The Guthrie in the News

A round up from MPR on the scandale of the Guthrie Theatre’s coming season: Guthrie Announces 2012-13 Season Guthrie Theatre’s Debt to Women & Diversity Joe Dowling Responds to Criticism of Guthrie’s Season And here’s a few from other sources: Polly Carl in HowlRound: A Boy in a Man’s Theatre Tad Simons on The Guthrie’s […]

Sarah Kane’s Skin

Talking about Blasted today reminded me that a really great and disturbing short film of her play Skin is available on YouTube. [Bonus: here’s a link to the NYT interview with Marin Ireland and Sarah Benson about the challenges of playing in Blasted.]

Critiquing Criticism

My Humana Festival panel… And here’s some context from my blog for Playwrights’ Commons. . Watch live streaming video from newplay at

From Mike Daisey

I really never re-post wholesale blog entries from other sites, but this is important. You should read what Mike has had to say yesterday after a week which, I can only imagine, was fairly hellish. I post it here because I think what it shows is that earnestness, honesty, and heartfelt apology are such powerful […]

Truth in Theatre

This week, Time Out New York & the Public Theater sponsored a panel on the post-Mike-Daisey question of Truth in Theatre, moderated by Adam Feldman. Panelists inlcluded: writer-director Steven Cosson of the Civilians (This Beautiful City), playwright-performers Jessica Blank (The Exonerated) and Taylor Mac (The Young Ladies of…), and critic-reporters Peter Marks (Washington Post) and […]

Why Experiential/Immersive Theatre?

We figured it out. You’re welcome.

The Mike Daisey Conundrum

Over the past week, Mike Daisey’s critically heralded monologe, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (TATESJ), has had a change of fortune, and has prompted a backlash in both the theatre and journalism worlds. (Full disclosure, Mike is a friend, and watching this unfold has been rough.) The barest attempt at a backstory […]

Occupy the Civilians

I just got a fascinating email from a colleague at The Civilians (where our own Steve Ginsburg is also in residence this spring). Here’s the message, which I think will be of interest to you: I work for The Civilians (The Center for Investigative Theater) in Brooklyn, New York ( and we have a semi-theatrical, […]

Boston’s Spring Season

Students often ask me what shows I’d recommend out in the wilds of Boston, beyond the inertia of the university. Here’s my list for Spring 2012. It’s not exhaustive, and focuses on contemporary & new work rather than classics. ArtsEmerson – Sugar by Robbie McCauley: Jan 20-29 – 69 South (The Shakelton Project) by Phantom […]

Digital Dramaturgy Round Up

The fall semester is over, and that means that the blog authors of the last few months are moving on as well. The majority of them are even now winging their ways to various semester-abroad programs. (We hope they don’t forget us.) However, before making this blog’s between-semester hiatus official, I wanted to share links […]

War Sheep

That is all.

Rebeckian Wisdom

We talked about the problem of de-virginized plays in class the other day, and I mentioned one of the most important essays on this topic, Theresa Rebeck’s “Is Your Play a Virgin,” from American Theatre (January 2005). See the text after the jump.

Casting Controversies: Part 1 of 2

I thought this might be a good place to do a round-up of the controversy surrounding the TheaterWorks casting of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Motherfucker with the Hat, which we talked about in class. After the (lengthy) laying out of facts here in part I, I’ll try to get into the meat of the matter […]

More on Marina Abramovic

Stuart wrote about the Marina Abramovic Mass MOCA scandale a week or so ago, in this post here. There’s been some interesting development since then. The performance artist who first wrote to Yvonne Rainer to alert her to Abromovic’s demands on auditioners has outed herself, and posted about her experience. Read Sara Wookey’s thought-provoking description […]

Thoughts on Satyagraha

This past weekend, I attended an opera at the Met for the first time. Let me get this out of the way: I am not an opera person. I have seen a few I’ve enjoyed (Jeune Lune’s Carmen, for instance), and many more that have bored me to death. Some have enraged me with the […]

The Playwrights Playwrights Admire

Excerpts from a recent piece in the Village Voice asking playwrights who the greatest living playwright is. Go read the whole thing! Quiara Alegria Hudes Wole Soyinka. His plays have their own cosmology—an entire universe within one piece of writing. And they’re urgent and primal and sophisticated while turning traditional notions of sophistication on their […]

If You’re in NYC on Sun, Nov 13….

Here’s an announcement about an exciting sounding panel of all-star playwrights and directors who are in the trenches, making work. My colleague Randy Gener notes that ANY STUDENT with an ID can get the $5 ticket. Well worth it! FYI, Dan Knechtges & Douglas Carter Beane from Lysistrata Jones (featuring SOT alum Alex Wyse on […]

Dramaturgy Behind the Camera

To my mind, it’s always the work of dramaturgs to help theatres articulate the importance of the work to the public — potential audiences, members/subscribers, community, etc. Lately, I’ve been deeply interested in how video can be used in this effort (with a shout-out to Raphael Martin at SoHo Rep, whose dramaturgical FEED video blog […]

Jeanette Winterson on Writing & Truth

You must read this. The novelist & essayist Jeanette Winterson has written a heart-wrenching and illuminating piece for the Guardian about her terrible childhood, and how literature became her lifeboat.  For those of you who’ve engaged in autobiography via playwriting, or hope to find ways to tell the difficult parts of your own stories through […]