Recently, I reached out to playwright, Johnny Drago, for a creativity interview. He agreed, and that one is coming, but in the meantime, he asked if I wanted to interview one of his students, Caroline Snape, who is a dramaturg. Dramaturgy is defined as “the art or technique of dramatic composition and theatrical representation.” That may seem a little vague, and there are a lot of different ideas about what dramaturgy is because it’s not something we necessarily hear a lot about so I was delighted to have her.
So here you go, everyone, an interview with Caroline Snape!
What is your main form of creative expression?
As a Dramaturg, I find crafting questioning is my main form of creativity. I have to find the root of your curiosity of a moment, scene, and/or character and then put that into a question for the playwright, director, and actors. It’s a type of diplomatic creativity, and I have plenty of questions I write down in my notes but only a handful ever make it to the actual conversation. Particularly, with plays in the early stages I don’t want to shoot from the hip, so some of the creativity of dramaturgy is found in the facilitating of those conversations. I remember my first Scene Study teacher telling us that everything we say should “be kind, truthful, and constructive.” I think about that every time I finish reading a play to slow me down.
Do you work as an artist/creative full-time or do you have a different day job?
My day jobs are social media and marketing for theatre and assisting an Editor for an online literary magazine. I don’t know anyone who does work as an artist/creative full-time, if there is I’d like to meet them and find out what magic they’re working!
How long have you been creating music/books/plays/films/etc.?
I realised during my acting training that dramaturgy was where I was meant to be and where my interest in the theatre making really lay. So it’s been about 4 years of seriously focusing on dramaturgy, with some poetry and fiction writing on the side.
How do you find time to be creative if you have a separate day job?
In marketing, there’s this strange balance of sales and numbers vs. the development of campaigns and structuring the narrative of them. I’m not sure I’ve found that balance yet. I find the time for my own projects by looking at my schedule and filling every free evening I can, with meetings, shows, readings,
Do you engage in any additional creative hobbies? Are there any you’d like to try?
When I’m not at the day job, I’m often reading, writing poetry, or if it’s a completely free day, painting.
Who are some other artists and creatives that inspire you to create?
Maria Irene Fornés, always and forever. Reading her plays, for me, are a catalyst for being ambitiously imaginative and incredibly specific. My friend and playwright, Johnny Drago. He was my professor in college and now we’re colleagues. Every time I leave one of our meetings my brain is racing with ideas and plans for what to do next. Jorge Luis Borges, who has written some phenomenal short stories. If I need a little push to get going with something, he’s my guy. The House of Asterion is my favorite story of his.
Why do you create?
To find structure and patterns in things I’m working through. I often have to talk through ideas with imagery otherwise I’m pretty lost. Also, I think finding creativity in any medium is important for all folx to do. I read this amazing report last year about the links between health (both mental and physical) and a creative hobby or lifestyle.
What advice do you have for other creatives?
If you are afraid to do something or hesitant, look to someone whose work inspires you and see the permissions they’ve given to you in their own work.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a few things at the moment: producing an online educational video series about careers in film and theatre, dramaturging a couple of plays in their very early stages, and developing a collective for theatre-makers, other creatives are welcome too, to come to a physical (as opposed to an online) space to talk about their projects.
Where can people find you and your work?
Folx can find me on Instagram and Twitter @CarolineSnape!
Thanks for letting me pick your brain, Caroline! “If you are afraid to do something or hesitant, look to someone whose work inspires you and see the permissions they’ve given to you in their own work.” That’s amazing advice for creatives everywhere!