Dylan has worked in new play development with Center Theatre Group, The Geffen Playhouse, The Theatre @ Boston Court, Skylight Theatre Company, Native Voices at The Autry Museum, Rogue Artists Ensemble, Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble and Theatre Dybbuk, among others. He previously worked in the literary offices for Centerstage Baltimore and served as co-Artistic Director for the award-winning company Needtheater. He has contributed writings on theatre and pop culture to Bitter Lemons, Howlround, and American Theatre, and, for the past ten years he has served as resident dramaturg for the Robey Theatre Company, where he leads the Advanced Playwright's Lab. Currently, he is the creative director for the virtual reality production company VR Playhouse.

"Westworld," Open Worlds & The Future of Theater

Is it commonplace, a fact of human existence, to look to the future with absolutely equal parts terror and exhilaration? Like, does it always exist at polar opposites? Like, was there ever a time when people looked to the future with only half-hearted interest and lukewarm emotional investment? Because...

Dramaturgy Playlist: 5 Plays for the 99-Seat War

I’m coming in with my hands over my head, okay? I’m not wearing a wire. I’m not carrying a weapon. I have credentials: I ran a nonprofit theater company here in Los Angeles for several years, one that survived and thrived in large part because of the 99 Seat...

Dramaturgy Playlist: 5 Plays for Live TV, Cable Edition

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that NBC has chosen to draw their water from this particular, theatrical well. In conceiving of these live, musical broadcasts of theirs, the network has chosen The Sound of Music and Peter Pan as source material, two pieces of theater that long ago...

Dramaturgy Playlist: 5 Plays For 5 Theme Parks

Los Angeles theater is currently lost in a messy argument about how exactly it should divide up its income, an argument I couldn't dive into even if I wanted and, really, if you spend any amount time on this site then you've already heard all about it. What interests...

Dramaturgy Playlist: 5 Plays for 5 Comebacks

Among the many reasons to find Variety a reliably goofy read is its decision to group its theatre reviews and news under the header, “Legit.” This never ceases to amuse me. It feels like part of some worn and lovable Hollywood tradition, like Musso & Frank’s, like theatre is...

Dramaturgy Playlist: 5 Plays For Our Virtual Reality Future

Conceptually at least, virtual reality has been around for a long time. I myself grew up on the mid-90s vision of it best depicted in Aerosmith’s “Amazing” music video and the Denzel/Russell classic Virtuosity. It’s gained a major head of steam in recent years though as the technology needed...

Dramaturgy Playlist: 5 Plays for Burning Man

Breaking news, guys. I don't know what finally gave it away—the giant, elaborately designed pieces of mechanized art or the thousands of people walking around dressed primarily in LEDs—but I'm here to confirm that Burning Man is a theatrically rich environment. It comes full of everything we expect from...

The Dramaturg: Wrestlemania!

On April Fool’s Day, 1990, 67,678 people paid to enter Toronto’s brand-new Skydome stadium to watch a succession of men in their underwear pretend to fight. Even more stupendously, a half million more had already purchased the right to watch a descrambled, live broadcast of this gargantuan spectacle, called...

The Dramaturg: America's Most Relevant Play, The Finals!

The most popular form of live performance in this country is professional sports. This means that our conception of performance is shaped around competition, and the notion that an enacted story involves some representation of a fight; someone simultaneously fighting against something and for something. Consider boxing, which is...

The Dramaturg: America's Most Relevant Play, Round 2

Welcome to the second round, everyone. Glad you could join us on this beautiful day for theatrical bloodsport!

A quick note of congratulations before we get to it goes out to Annie Baker for taking home the 2014 Pulitzer in Drama for The Flick. Her Circle Mirror Transformation was just...

The Dramaturg: America's Most Relevant Play: Round 1, Fight!

Yeah, we’re not screwing around here. America’s most relevant play, specifically of the last twenty years. You see, twenty years ago, Angels in America closed on Broadway. Now that play was important on a level that nothing we’ll be talking about here can even approach. The plays here are...

The Dramaturg: The Spine-Tingling Allure of the Backlot Tour

H.G. Wells’ classic tale of alien invasion and imperial paranoia, The War of the Worlds, was first published in serialized form in 1897. It was then made historic in 1938 when Orson Welles did it as a fake news broadcast (a top contender in VH1’s “100 Greatest Moments in Storytelling...

Dramaturgy Case Study: The XXII Olympic Closing Ceremonies

“Pageantry” is a fun word to say. Something about the big, opening “Paah” sliding down pleasantly into the bouncy “-gin” and then the slightly elongated “-tree” makes it sound extra plummy and rich. I like to imagine Roger Rees saying it. It’s a word meant to be said with...

The Dramaturg: Party Theater

There's a certain kind of live entertainment that has stayed reliably popular pretty much since the dawn of man. People like to party. They like to go to parties. From time to time, they like to throw parties. We've erected whole towns to enable better partying. Days of the...

Dramaturgy Case Study: Penn & Teller

Penn & Teller’s How To Play With Your Food was published on November 18, 1992 and given to my father as a Christmas present a month later. I think I took full and sole possession on December 26. The book had instructions on how to pull off all sorts...

The Dramaturg: Hollywood's Greatest Fake Play: The Finals!

It's the Finals! Extra exclamation points!!!

(2) "Red, White and Blaine" from Waiting for Guffman vs. (5) "Heaven and Hell" from Rushmore 

When I started this tournament of mine, I didn't have the clearest idea of how I was going to judge things. I sorta figured I'd approach each of those first...

The Dramaturg: Hollywood's Greatest Fake Plays: The Semis!

Semi-Finals, Game #1: Springtime for Hitler vs. Heaven and Hell

Film's method of artistic reasoning has always seemed like kind of a killjoy to me-the idea that the best way to represent an action is to reproduce it in the most realistic way possible. This, in turn, has created an audience overly attuned...

The Dramaturg: Rise of the Superstory

In the parlance of grifters, charlatans and other, assorted flimflam men, a long con is one that unfolds over a sustained period of time. It relies on the construction of an intricate, multistage story designed to create trust between the conman and the mark, eventually allowing the perpetrators to...

Dramaturgy Case Study: The Secret of Monkey Island

Fairly early on in the computer game The Secret of Monkey Island, our hero, the fantastically named Guybrush Threepwood, is apprehended by power-hungry sheriff Fester Shinetop (the names!!) and fitted for the proverbial cement boots, dropped into the ocean while chained to a giant statue that Threepwood had set...

The Dramaturg: Live!

At the increasingly frantic intersection of psychology and video game design, there's a term, "cognitive flow," which describes the kind of mental state that games strive to induce in their players. The psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihályi first coined the term, describing it as, "the satisfying, exhilarating feeling of creative accomplishment...

Dramaturgy Case Study: Family Guy, episode #198

I'm totally biting Colin's idea. I can live with that though because if Family Guy is going to the theater world as the setting for an episode, I'm going with them. It sorta pains me to admit it given its plummeting credibility, but Family Guy is a perennial regular...

The Dramaturg: Loving The Silent Tears

A couple of weeks ago, I started to get emails from representatives of the new musical, Loving The Silent Tears, inviting me to attend their red-carpet premiere that was held at the Shrine Auditorium this past weekend. In their words, "We would most appreciate a post-event editorial, complete with...

My Best Friend, The Dramaturg

There's a large chunk of a dramaturg's job that is vague and amorphous and sorta sounds like bullshit whenever you try to describe it. It's also the most exciting part of the job, at least for me. And the most challenging. It's the collision of dramaturg and playwright.

This usually...

The Dramaturg: Site-Unspecific

Let's not talk about theater (we'll get back to it, trust). Let's talk about computer games instead. Computer games are far and away the most popular form of narrative entertainment out there. They blow everyone else away. This makes them very influential and it means that the particular way...

The Dramaturg: The Sad, Beautiful Face of The Loser

I was at a party recently and a friend of mine paid me a (sorta) compliment about these Bitter Lemons posts that also managed to be (sorta) confusing and (sorta) dispiriting. She said something like, "I really like those things you're writing. I know it's you because they're so...

The Dramaturg: Fringin'

You know that scene in "Caddyshack" where Bushwood Country Club opens up its pool for fifteen minutes to the unruly gang of caddies? That's kind of what the Hollywood Fringe Festival is like. There's the distinct feeling that the gates have been thrown open and every theatrical nutbar in...

Death and The Dramaturg

I spend more time thinking about death than pretty much anything else, with the possible exception of the current, past and future states of the Oakland A's, San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors. I don't think of this as being especially troubling or indicative of some sort of...

The Dramaturg: Totally Uninformed Tony Picks

The Tony Award nominations were announced this week! Double exclamation point!!
I struggle mightily to connect the Tony Awards to my daily, professional life. I feel no personal stakes in these awards, no ownership of my industry, no sense of pride in what we as a group have accomplished. I...

The Dramaturg: The Most Theatrical Place on Earth

I love Disneyland. The rest of the Disney empire-the movies and merchandise and TV shows and cruise lines, the whole entire lifestyle thing-I could probably do without but I remain semi-obsessed by Disneyland. And frankly, I don't know why the rest of the theater world isn't. It's a theme...

The Dramaturg: Wait, theater sucks?! When did that happen?

Here's a question: How many Bitter Lemons readers out there are not theater professionals or theater artists of some kind? Not actors or writers or directors or producers or designers or technicians? How many readers have no affiliation whatsoever with the performing arts other than being audience members?

Here's another...

The Dramaturg: Intrinsic Impact

Yesterday, I attended the inaugural installment of LA STAGE Talks, a series of public presentations and conversations brought to us by the good people at LA STAGE Alliance. The subject was a nationwide, two-year research study called "Measuring the Intrinsic Impact of Live Theatre," and its resulting book, Counting...

The Dramaturg: Starring Kobe Bryant as Pozzo

Last week, I read a blog post from a playwright/teacher/dramaturg named Meron Langsner in which he shared a classroom exercise he uses. He asks his students to cast a production of Hamlet with Muppet characters. This is a sneakily genius idea not just because it's fun and knocks some...

The Dramaturg: Out-Theatered

As someone who is not only obliged to read a lot of bad plays but then also to talk about them, I often have occasion to think about bad playwriting in a kind of macro sense. If you read enough of them, you begin to see commonalities that say...

The Dramaturg: Developmental Hell

I said last week that The Fury of the Dramaturg would return. Consider yourself warned...

This past weekend, there was a big gathering of dramaturgs in Washington, D.C., convened by the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage. As is usually the case when dramaturgs meet en masse, there...

Enter The Dramaturg

Hello. I'm Dylan. I'm new here.

Okay then, enough chit-chat. Let's get started:

I'm of the opinion that, right now, the most commonly understood fact about dramaturgy and dramaturgs is that no one understands what dramaturgy is or what dramaturgs do. And this haziness also applies to the dramaturgs themselves, who...