New dramaturgy majors offer new course to theater students
By Song Yaotian
Many know that China's Central Academy of Drama is where screen stars such as Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi are produced. But it's also a birthplace of film and theater directors. The academy has now set up a new major in dramaturgy to cultivate theater curators and programmers.
At the school, in a practice called "still picture," students act out a scene that has a strong theatrical impact: a star appears in an airport, fans swarm to ask for an autograph, and bodyguards stop them from drawing too close.
Students perform at a dramaturgy class. /CGTN Photo

Students perform at a dramaturgy class. /CGTN Photo

The teacher asks students, who serve as the audience, to narrate what they have seen and guess what the scene is about.
It is all part of the course in dramaturgy, teaching students techniques of acting and crafting theatrical scenes.
Dramaturgy, as a way of making and teaching theater, originated in Germany in the 18th century. And it is a hot topic in today's theaters as it focuses on the relations between theater and society. Dramaturgists – professionals who graduate with this major – are well-versed in various aspects of theater: acting, directing, and audience research.
Dramaturgy teacher Kai Tuchmann (R) watches students perform in class. /CGTN Photo

Dramaturgy teacher Kai Tuchmann (R) watches students perform in class. /CGTN Photo

Li Yinan, the initiator of the new major, says dramaturgy is now a widespread concept in the theater field. It involves a collective process of creating a play and recreating a class in group. It also stresses upon here and now, meaning making dramas for today's audience.
This class is taught by Kai Tuchmann, a MA graduate from the Berlin Acting College and a scholar specializing in dramaturgy, and Li Yinan, who got her PhD in Germany.They think this new major can provide a holistic education for theater students.
Student Feng Taojing says she's very interested in postdramatic theater and aims at become a dramaturgist to take theaters closer to the audience.