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The term first appears in the eponymous work Hamburg Dramaturgy (1767–69) by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Lessing composed this collection of essays on the principles of drama while working as the world's first dramaturge at the Hamburg National Theatre. Dramaturgy is distinct from play writing and directing, although the three may be practiced by one individual. Some dramatists combine writing and dramaturgy when creating a drama. Others work with a specialist, called a dramaturge, to adapt a work for the stage.
Dramaturgy may also be broadly defined as "adapting a story to actable form." Dramaturgy gives a performance work foundation and structure. Often the dramaturge's strategy is to manipulate a narrative to reflect the current Zeitgeist through cross-cultural signs, theater- and film-historical references to genre, ideology, questions of gender and racial representation, etc., in the dramatization.
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