Day 7: On Polyphonic Drama

by Tobi Mattingly | Jul 28, 2016

We’ve reached the end of the first week of our Lab countdown!

If you’re just stumbling across our blog today, our 2016 Lab starts on Sunday, August 21, and we’re celebrating by sharing an article, video, or other resource every day for the thirty days leading up. Today is day seven, and we’re looking a “polyphonic drama”.

What is polyphonic drama? If you’re familiar with music, you could probably extrapolate what how Chicago director Amber Robinson uses the term:

In this essay I borrow a term from music to characterize multi-narrative work: “polyphonic,” meaning “having two or more voices or parts, each with an independent melody, but all harmonizing.”

In a piece for HowlRound earlier this year, Amber discusses recent Chicago examples of polyphonic theatre, focusing specifically on the Goodman’s production of 2666. She shares an in-depth discussion she had with Seth Bockley, the co-director and adapter of 2666.

Read The Open Constellation: Tackling Polyphonic Drama that Resists Resolution on HowlRound now.


Tobi Mattingly is a Chicago-based director, actor, music director, and teaching artist. She is the founder of Artistic Conspiracy, an arts organization dedicated to creating and enabling world-changing theatre. Through this organization, she helps professional theatremakers take control of their theatre careers through learning and balancing artistic craft, bodymind practices, and business/marketing management.