SDMT’s Dramaturg, Kimberly King, Shares Her Role In “RENT”!
SDMT’s very own DEI consultant, Kimberly King, is also their new resident Dramaturg. Dramaturgs are experts in the study of plays, musicals, or operas and it is their job to provide the cast and crew with vital knowledge, research, and interpretation about the theatrical work in question so that they are—in turn—better equipped to do their jobs. Kimberly was instrumental in creating an authentic portrayal of RENT amplifying the AIDS epidemic, the plight of the RENT characters, drug use and so much more to make it a more relatable experience.
What is your role as the dramaturge for this production?
My role as dramaturg for RENT was a little complicated because I am also the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant for SDMT, and I found myself not exactly sure of my perspective all the time.
When I would be researching something the director (Courtney’s awesome, by the way. If you didn’t know, now you know!) asked to find out about and when I find the information, I found myself wondering how it would affect the actors on each of their multiple identity levels!
What did you discover?
Maybe it shouldn’t, but it amazes me how much I still have to learn at my age.
I discovered my love for this show again. Fresh love. I don’t ever want to tire of the beauty of the humanity of RENT, and how it remains relevant, even on an instructional level.
In a conversation at the theatre, I was talking with someone regarding the vilification of Benny. My observation is that Benny is right! In the end, the major players compartmentalize their bohemian desires and pursue capitalism. As much as we all want ot live a zero-carbon, light-footprint existence, we also don’t want a neighborhood where people piss on your stoop every night”.
RENT is bold about giving the spotlight to the internal and external struggle of being alive in a modern world. I think we still spend a lot of time in 2021 pretending that we don’t struggle with the state of our humanity. And that pretending means that many of us are not living authentically. Some of RENT’s commentary I think is to say, “wake up to your human frailty!” Once we embrace it, we can stop hurting each other and the planet.