Clay & Water 2024

Information for Dramaturg Applicants


Clay & Water 2024 is Clamour Theatre Company’s sixth annual Playwrights’ Retreat & New Play Reading Series. Previously, the only Retreats to utilize dramaturgical services were the 2021 and 2022 virtual Retreats. For 2024, however, we have received a small grant from the State of Florida which will allow us to provide each writer the opportunity to work (remotely) with a dramaturg.

The 2024 Retreat will be held March 16 – March 21, 2024, but dramaturgs will work with playwrights intermittently prior to the Retreat between January 2024 and March 2024. All via Zoom.

Selected dramaturgs will receive $400 each for their participation.

Dramaturg’s Scope of Work and Duties

The DRAMATURG will support the PLAY with the usual and customary dramaturgical services that DRAMATURG, director, playwright, and THEATRE deem necessary. Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dramaturgical Zoom meeting between DRAMATURG and playwright at a mutually convenient time prior to January 20, 2024.
  • Attendance at 2 private (actors, playwright, dramaturg, and Clamour staff) Zoom rehearsals of the PLAY, each to be followed by another dramaturgical Zoom meeting between DRAMATURG and playwright. The first private Zoom rehearsal and dramaturgical Zoom meeting to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time between January 20, 2024 and February 10, 2024.  The second private Zoom rehearsal and dramaturgical Zoom meeting to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time between February 11, 2024 and March 12, 2024.
  • Attendance via Zoom at a live public reading of the PLAY to be scheduled between Sunday evening, March 17, 2024 and Thursday evening, March 21, if feasible (i.e.–if venue has a stable internet connection which is still TBD). Reading to be followed by a Zoom meeting, email or phone call summarizing any last dramaturgical thoughts, scheduled at a later date at the DRAMATURG’S discretion.

Additional Information

More information about the overall event is available on the page outlining the guidelines for playwright applicants and can be found here: Clay & Water 2024 Guidelines.

Playwrights’ bios can be found at the event page:  Clay & Water 2024

Plays and Playwrights needing Dramaturgs

Plays are listed below in alphabetical order by title. Synopses, writer’s development goals, and dramaturg preference are available under each play (simply click the red plus sign next to each heading to expand that section).

by Surrey Houlker

“for the fish” sets out to explore the experience of growing up alienated and queer in the countryside. How can we find (and keep) safety as queer people? What even is “safety?” Do fish have feelings? Somewhere deep in rural Massachusetts in the 70s, 13-year-old Susanna goes fishing with her non-binary Uncle whenever she gets bored. Or overwhelmed. Or terrified. Susanna’s big heart and quick temper keep her precariously perched between normalcy and disaster. Her Uncle, grappling with their addiction and Susanna’s math homework, finds themselves caught up in this wave of teenage turmoil. As 1974 comes to a close, Susanna and her Uncle draw closer, bonded by an understanding very few in their town will ever hold.

CW: heavy drinking, homophobic language, vomiting

Where ‘for the fish’ needs the most work is with the character of ‘Dick the Fish’, the embodied voice of the characters’ destructive brains and the crushing binary. I also would like to rework the ending, get to the action of the piece faster, and incorporate more Queer joy throughout. I’m sure other things may come up while developing further, but that’s where I’m currently at with the piece.

I am looking to work with a Queer dramaturg who has experience with magical realism/experimental theatre. I have no preference for age, gender, or race, but someone who has lived in rural America would be a lovely plus!

by Cris Eli Blak

Deana Wakefield is an African American woman living out of a motel with her musician-boyfriend, struggling with a substance use disorder. Her life takes an unexpected turn when a journalist from The New York Times shows up at her door after he uncovers who she really is: a former child math prodigy. This is a play about race, discrimination, addiction, friendship, shame, generational trauma, and how no matter what we are, or who we are, we have a story to tell and a life that’s worth living.


This is very much an early draft of the play and I feel that there is definitely room to continue to flesh out these characters and their stories. I feel that the protagonist of the show, Deana, is the most developed of the characters, and we know splotches about the others, but not their full picture. So I would like to continue examining who they are and how they not only play into Deana’s story, but how their personal stories led them to where they are.

No preferences. Open to any good dramaturg.

by Pamela Morgan

Rachel Allbright, an emerging playwright in her mid-40s, is offered the opportunity to stage a scene from her life in Glory to the Father, a meta-psychodrama about childhood trauma, overbearing religion, and complicated family relationships. Rachel struggles to write and revise a prodigal reunion between her mother, Mary, and her sibling, Beck, at her father’s deathbed. And as the scene unfolds, again and again, Rachel finds her characters refusing to do as they’re told and forcing her to process a past that she never
prepared for.

There are three goals I hope to focus on during this retreat: character development, pacing and structure, and theme and symbolism. I want to consider if all of the characters have evolved sufficiently and have distinct voices. I believe Saint Gigi has room for growth and development, and I believe Beck has more backstory to explore.

Then, I wish to assess if my play is evenly paced and maintains interest throughout. Does the narrative flow smoothly? Could the structure be improved? Do the revelations come at the right time? Hearing this read aloud with actors would be very beneficial for this part.

Finally, I want to ensure the major themes of my play have been addressed and explored satisfactorily. Is my message clear?

I would prefer a female dramaturg with a religious background, Catholic being first preference but understanding of religious trauma is important.

by Amy Tofte

When an android falls in love with her human co-worker, she must learn difficult human nuances such as love vs. lust and support vs. control. Each interaction pushes the constantly learning android to create a shared trauma that binds her as close as possible to her human companion. Is there an algorithm for love? Is love even real? Or is it merely an agreed upon delusion between consenting sentient beings?
This script is brand new. I completed the first draft while at a residency in March 2023. I’ve had one private reading with actors via zoom after which I did some rewrites. While I’m happy with the general shape of the story, there’s more work to be done on the character arcs and the shape of each individual scene. (I’m breaking up the story into three long scenes.) The most important next step for me is working through the pages with actors who can help me challenge the character arcs and ask questions of the characters that I haven’t considered. I think there’s room to go deeper with the themes, but I find that’s always better to do while in conversation with other artists. This is how I would prioritize my time and re-writes: 1. Character Arcs/Authenticity (both by individual scene and the arc of the whole play) 2. Dialogue Trims and Re-Writes (based on character arc feedback) 3. Themes (re-writes, new material as needed)


Open to any good dramaturg, ideally one who is passionate about the play. I’ve worked with a lot of dramaturgs, and I’ve learned that’s the most important quality. Because even if we disagree on something, we’ll have a really good discussion that challenges the work.

by Chandler Hubbard

The myth, the monster, the woman: Medusa. She’s been confined to Hell for thousands of years. Today, her sisters and fellow Gorgons come to rescue her, but the chains binding Medusa can only be broken by the prisoner herself. It’s a reckoning and a retribution; it’s a bildungsroman and a beheading.

Part of the process of writing “small quiet good” was finding ways to make the “historic” real, to make the antiquated feel modern, to find the parallels between past and present (and, no doubt, future). Next steps are to really squeeze the juice out of these characters and their ordeals; to make the audience sit with themselves as participants of the action onstage; but also to focus on the moments of joy and levity and sisterhood.

Dramaturg preference would be for someone who identifies as a woman, whether AFAB (assigned female at birth) or not. Well-versed in the psychology of trauma and healing. Someone who can find joy amongst sorrows.

How to Apply

  • Please send an email introducing yourself both professionally and personally.
  • Please tell us which playwright and play you would like to work with and why you think you would be a good fit.
  • Note that these writers range from very early career to more experienced. It would be helpful if you could indicate whether you have experience working with writers who may not have had a previous opportunity to work with a dramaturg.
  • Please give us a general idea of your availability between January and March 2024 (e.g., do you have a day job that precludes weekday meetings? Are you currently in production and unable to attend evening or weekend meetings?  Are you going to a wedding on a specific range of dates?)
  • Please include any questions you might have.

Email: Elaine Smith,

Deadline: January 3,  2022, 5 pm EST