Verbatim Theatre 23/10/08
What is Verbatim Theatre?
Verbatim theatre is a phrase used to describe a type of play that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Verbatim plays are, as the name suggests, written using only the precise words spoken by people interviewed about a particular event or topic.
The playwright interviews people that are connected to the topic that the play is focused on and uses their testimony to construct the piece. In this way they seek to achieve a degree of authority akin to that represented by the news. Such plays may be focused on politics, disasters or even sporting events.
A verbatim style of theatre uses the real words from interviewees to construct the play. Recorded voice delivery is an extension of verbatim theatre in which actors have recorded interviews played back to them during the performance, allowing them to directly mimic the accents and manner of speech, as well as the words, of the people they portray.
All of the above was taken from www. wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbatim_theatre
Mark asked Simona how to get to a certain place, she started with " emm, right...emm ok so..." which defined her way of speaking, he then asked the same question to another person and they started completely different even though it was the same question. This is perfect example of how verbatim theatre is used. Each person in the class then wrote down how to get to a certain place( Twicknham station), Mark went around and each person read the directions out. This time the direction were more thought through and direct, they also had no characteristics of the person. This therefore showing how being on the spot or just talking convey your personality and the true person effectively capturing a sense of reality and a more realistic representation of that person.
The Class split in half A & B, the A people had to leave the room. I was in group A, we was told to walk back into the room when we wanted to and once in the room the A people were only aloud to talk to each other. So basically pretend the B people were not there. We walked in and the B people were just watching us, I talked with Emily for a few minutes then we exited from the room. We then went back into the room and sat down whilst the remaining people (B's) went out of the room and came back in acting out what they had just watched.
Simona was my partner for this exercise, she picked up on things that I am aware of doing but don't realise at the time such as touching my self, in particular playing with the bottom of my top. Simona picked up on this straight away yet she did however over play my character (which she admitted to, naughty simona). But many people said they played on the things they noticed the most which seemingly mocked/Paradise the people they played.
I found it very interesting to watch but how you could recognise yourself as well as other people , for example Emily was easily recognised as she has tendency to stand on her heels as soon as the person playing her done that I thought to myself 'that's so Emily'.
The aspect of Verbatim theatre I liked was the enjoyment of watching it, to begin with when I entered the room I kept thinking how dull and how boring the people watching us must be? but when they re-acted us even though there was nothing in particularly interesting happen it was interesting to watch. I like the idea that you do not create a character or language as they are already given to you. Yet it is the way in which you interpret what you have watched or been told that creates the piece. Basically taking someone and responding to them as accurate as possible.
Examples of Verbatim Plays/texts:
Black Watch by Gregory Burke. (I found a useful website about this play and his work.)
Talking To Terrorist by Robin Soans.
Cancer Tales by Neil Dunn
www.paineurope.com (Contain Video links to people talking about dealing with cancer and their stories)
“The Cancer Tales workbook is a valuable new method to inform and teach healthcare professionals to help patients with cancer through their experience. It has already received good feedback from palliative care specialists, which I feel is well earned.” Lukas Radbruch – President of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)