J. J. Krehbiel

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Scott Cole

Degree Award Date

Spring 2013


dramaturgy, My Name is Rachel Corrie, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, International Solidarity Movement, post-performance discussions


International Relations | Peace and Conflict Studies | Political Science | Theatre and Performance Studies


During my dramaturgical work for My Name is Rachel Corrie, the most common question I received from my peers was what exactly a dramaturg does. I still do not have a short answer for this question. However, to describe dramaturgy as concisely as possible, I refer to a metaphor used by Michael Chemers. Chemers explains that "dramaturgy is the very blood coursing through the veins of any theatrical production" (Chemers 2010, p. 3). The metaphor of blood seems especially appropriate for approaching the play My Name is Rachel Corrie from a dramaturgical point of view. Corrie's story tragically ends in bloodshed and the play reminds audiences of the open wounds of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a dramaturg for this important piece of political drama, my primary goal was to uncover the scars present in this play and encourage audience members to think critically about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Although Chemers' metaphor provides a useful conceptual framework for dramaturgy, it does not help explain the practical issues that a dramaturg deals with. To that end, Chemers identifies three major tasks that a dramaturg is responsible for in any production. First, a dramaturg must determine the "aesthetic architecture" of a play through analysis of the text. Second, a dramaturg is responsible for researching various elements of the play to create a "living piece of theatre." Finally, a dramaturg must find practical ways to apply the knowledge from the research to enhance the audience's experience (Chemers 2010, p. 3). I would also add that a dramaturg is responsible for applying knowledge to assist the production team and actors' interpretations of the text. I sought to fulfill these four responsibilities through a variety of methods in order to meet my goal of bringing attention to the deeper political context of My Name is Rachel Corrie.