In Dramaturgy in Motion, Katherine Profeta defines risk as the “departure from a comfort zone”(201), and stated that the risks of intercultural collaborations can be the chance of embarrassment, frustration, disruption of lives, disapproval from those in one’s own cultural background, and, of course, physical risk. In the chapter Interculturalism, Profeta talks about the nature of risk in theatre work and the role risk plays in a dramaturg’s work.
After stating all the risks that intercultural collaborations involve, Profeta explained how these risks are actually the basis of a collaboration. They may be an obvious part of the initial invitation to the work and also a part of what intrigued the collaborators to join. For a dramaturg, Profeta said, “he or she would not be involved in such a project if he or she fundamentally believed it was better to play things safe,”(201) showing the value of taking risks in a collaboration and the attraction of it. She also said that the director or choreographer “likely believe that the most interesting dialogue and discoveries will be located on the far side of some sort of discomfort, and try purposefully to guide the ship in that direction.”(202) This shows that these risks might also be the fundamentals and essentials of a piece of work, and only through taking these risks, the works may evolve into something special and surprising. Profeta later explained the different levels of risks each type of collaborator is put in. The dramaturg is rarely in risk but is responsible of making sure that the director/choreographer is, while the director is often the most protected from risks but often puts the other collaborators in more risk. At last, Profeta throws out the question of “who then pushes the dramaturg towards risk?” and stated the significance of the ability of all collaborators to “graciously receive such a shove towards the space of risk”(203).
I am interested in the idea of risks because Profeta said that it could be the reason why collaborators joined together and where the director will direct the work to. I wonder why that is. What is the beauty of risks? I believe as humans, the uncertainties is what intrigues us because it is where anything may be possible. Seeing risks, we know that there is a possibility that it may lead to something extraordinarily beautiful and magical, but maybe also terrible. To me, risks are like the potential energy of a work. The higher it is from ground, the more energy it has and the harder it will fall, but also, the higher it may rebound, or, the further it may go. I think in arts, what artist works for is that moment of rebound.
Works CitedProfeta, Katherine. 2015. "Research" Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance. 61-87. USA: University of Wisconsin,
This is an excellent definition of risk from Profeta’s text without the more difficult comparative way that it can function (like what is the risk of the refugee versus the risk of the choreographer offending a dancer?). The idea of moving toward a discomfort zone is an undoing of habits, of ways that one has been organized as a political and social subject, the way in which one makes an approach toward something of which they are not certain. What is also important is to think through the calculations of risk so that it is not something that is intended to dismiss others but done with care and with the intent to engage and remain open to others. Did something surprising happen to you in Greece? I really remember your question of whether you would be overwhelmed with emotion and unable to handle the situation. I tried my best to mitigate “bad risks” and gave a structure in which risk could produce something different that might be uncomfortable but rewarding. But I did so thinking about the people we would encounter and the enormous power differential that exists. Risk doesn’t mean you don’t think about structures that allow you to handle discomfort. Instead – those rules in the rehearsal room, in the classroom and on the ground allow you some leeway in pushing yourself beyond what you know and what makes you feel stable. Great post!