Katherine Profeta has given two definitions of the word research in Dramaturgy in Motion in the chapter Research. The first definition is[tome_reference id=”500″ biblio-id=”382″] “to search again”, or, “the action of retracing steps”(62)[/tome_reference], and the aim is to organize existing information according to already established means of understanding. That material compiled then becomes ‘research’, the noun.” The second definition is [tome_reference id=”506″ biblio-id=”382″]“to search to know; to search with care, method, or reflection”[/tome_reference], and as Profit has put it, it is [tome_reference id=”509″ biblio-id=”382″]“research as the act of creation”(62)[/tome_reference]. Following this definition, Profeta explains that “[tome_reference id=”497″ biblio-id=”382″]the researcher directs human awareness to new ways of looking, thereby creating something that did not previously exist.[/tome_reference]”(63) In this definition, the noun “research” is the new material that is created rater than compiled.
In the context of theatre and dramaturgy, Profeta states that research is a significant part of a dramaturg’s work, but it is not only dependent on or performed by the the dramaturg. It is a tool that all collaborators in the work may use to prompt conversation. It is [tome_reference id=”520″ biblio-id=”382″]“a longer-term creative process to be shared, in which the dramaturg is an active, perhaps even catalyzing participant, but not the sole responsible party.”(70)[/tome_reference] Profeta also gives examples of when a piece of research can turn into an inspiration and when it cannot.[tome_reference id=”521″ biblio-id=”382″] In the example of using the film Maya Deren’s Devine Horsemen as a piece of research for Geography, Profeta suggests that it may have pushed them to consider the ethical dilemmas in their work and adjust the work accordingly.(77)[/tome_reference] The research on Bruce Nauman’s Wall/Floor Positions for the piece Patton was an example of an external research that catalyzed an idea different from its source, but [tome_reference id=”522″ biblio-id=”382″]“which would not have been found without it”(79-80)[/tome_reference]. This is an example of when research becomes inspiration. Using the research she did for How Can You…? as a reference, she introduced the concept of “translation” in research. A piece of research is inspirational only when it is able to translate into[tome_reference id=”523″ biblio-id=”382″] “something new or surprising”(82)[/tome_reference]. When a piece of information is too close to the matter at hand, Profeta suggests that it will not inspire the work for it only offers the possibility of quotation or plagiarism.
I find the word research important because, through the text, I see it very different from what I assumed it to be. I understand now researching is not necessary finding information that feeds directly into a work, but rather using external sources to open up possibilities for the work. A piece of research can be either a deep and essential finding that may change the work greatly, or just something that introduces new ideas and provokes discussions. The goal of research, as I understand now, is to search for materials that allow us to create something new.