NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT
In working on new plays, the dramaturg works with the playwright or other creators close the gaps between how things are, and how they would have them be. The goal is to identify the target the playwright is aiming for and then figure out how to get them to the bullseye. The dramaturg is the outside eye on for this process.
Meaning is always created in the mind of the audience, who are not privy to all of the information that a writer is. The writer, having spent so much time with the play, knows all about the world of the play. The audience is not so lucky. So the dramaturg can help make sure the information reaches the audience.
At the same time, the author may not be conscious of their blind spots. This is the nature of blind spots. The dramaturg can supply perspective and point to places in the text indicating things of which the playwright is not aware. In working through all angles, we can realize the playwright's vision.
In production dramaturgy, the dramaturg supports the production team through research and criticism. The dramaturg may produce files or materials to provide background to directors, designers, and actors. They may also hold discussions on issues of historical significance, or lead talkbacks with the audience.
The production dramaturg may also prepare educational materials for the audience, in the form of study guides for schools or production notes for the program.
In many ways, the dramaturg functions as the production's spare brain, helping the other roles in the execution of their duties.