CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dramaturgy of the Duels in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s "Hamilton"

The Theatre Times: Two men face off in Weehawken, NJ just before dawn. They hold muzzle-loaded flintlock pistols, primitive firearms by today’s standard. The moment determining life or death will be that instant that triggers are pulled. Once that mechanism is engaged, flint will strike steel, creating a spark that then ignites powder, which in turn propels a lead ball towards their opponent. This lethal action provides some sense of justice over an insult and satisfies the honor of both combatants.


Alex Talbot said...

I really liked this article, and found that it was an interesting and enthralling analysis of the show. I really liked how it went through all the symbolism in each duel, which I had also picked up on in the lyrics and staging of the production. But where I feel this article, and analysis lacked is in its context and evidence, in a way. I expected, from the title, for it to be a discussion of the staging and symbolism of the duel from the dramaturg or director on the show. While the analysis was enthralling, and the author was clearly very qualified to discuss the production, I think it would have been really interesting to discuss these ideas and themes that are displayed in the production with those in charge of creating it, as I myself would have been very interested to hear that perspective. But overall, I really enjoyed the article.

Mark Ivachtchenko said...

Wooo! An article about the dramaturgs. I remember when I finally began to consider theatre as an actual career and began looking into college applications and then I read that strange word I've never quite seen before: Dramaturgy. I always wondered what the hell they actually do since you almost never hear of them (I guess you never really hear of DPs that often either). I mean for gods sake most computers still auto-correct dramaturgy as a word. But this article showcases just how important their job really is into the shaping of the show. During production a show really can go in a dozen directions and you know, YOU KNOW there's going to be that one person in the audience who's a revolutionary weaponry expert pointing out all the things wrong with Hamilton's portrayal of a duel. So, the not revolutionary weaponry expert (dramaturg) has to do massive amounts of research to cater to this critic's needs. The bigger picture is also pointed out in the article, which I find interesting, because you can take something as simple as a pistol duel and really play with it to have a symbolic meaning that is necessary for the show's story telling.