For more than 10 years now, audience members have paged through their programs before the start of the show and found themselves reading insightful and thought-provoking articles about the show they were about to see. Behind those articles and essays was the unseen voice of Everyman Theatre – our Resident dramaturg, Naomi Greenberg-Slovin. While Naomi never appeared on our stage or designed the costumes or sets you see in our shows, her research and writing was instrumental to the creation of each production. Sadly, Everyman lost this member of the family over the summer; Naomi passed away on August 19th at the age of 92.
Many audience members probably don’t know the value of a dramaturg. Naomi tirelessly worked to research the history behind the plays we have produced. She would write about the time periods in which the shows occurred, research the details of a play’s setting, and understand the style in which the playwrights wrote. Her research and writing would help to influence a director’s approach and an actor’s style.
As a member of our Resident Company, Naomi was always at the table during a show’s first read. She was always eager to take a question from a rehearsal and research to find the answer. She never missed a production meeting. And her smile and a hug always greeted you on an Opening Night. She was a tireless advocate for Everyman.
Naomi was not only part of our figurative Everyman family, Naomi was also the younger sister of Resident Company member and Baltimore stage legend Vivienne Shub, who passed away last fall. The two of them came as a pair. After Naomi’s husband passed away several years ago, she moved from her home in the Netherlands to live in Baltimore with her sister.
The pair went on to create many different types of presentations together. Naomi researched, designed and wrote a course called “Finding the Playwright Between the Lines,” which was presented at Notre Dame’s Renaissance Program by Vivienne. The course was so successful it led to a second one: “The Playwright as a Beholder: Two Different Faces on the Same Theme,” taught at Johns Hopkins Evergreen Program.
Perhaps most memorably was the pair’s smash-hit, The Cone Sister. This one-woman show was written by Naomi for Vivienne to perform at Everyman during the 2006/2007 season. The story was based on the life of Baltimore art collector, Etta Cone. The show was a run-away hit and was extended several times.
For Vivienne’s 90th birthday, Naomi lovingly wrote of her sister’s life in the one-woman show Viva la Vivienne! After that, she wrote a staged reading of the works of Zelda Fitzgerald called Zelda in her Own Words. She also recently wrote the narrative text for the Baltimore Choral Society performance of Rachmoninoff’s All-Night Vigil and a program for the Geriatric Research Department at University of Maryland.
Naomi was the epitome of Everyman. Audiences may not have been able to pick her out in the theatre, but they certainly knew her voice and, I’m certain, could feel her love and passion for the theatre. More >