Conventions of verbatim theatre

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Conventions of verbatim theatre

Although it is often seen as a theatre form unto itself, Verbatim Theatre is a subset or branch of Documentary Theatre. Documentary and Verbatim Theatre can be seen as a theatre primarily of social and political change since they often seek to present both an entire picture and individual perspective on issues while trying also to give emotional insights into a theme or issue.

Verbatim Theatre in particular can be seen within broader research fields as a form of ethnographic research or Ethnodrama. Ethnodrama is used in many research fields both within and outside of the fields of the Arts.

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In Documentary Theatre as a performance style, real documents and even the words or testimony of involved in a situation or event are used to construct a script or a performance piece.

Often Documentary Theatre focuses on events and experiences that have a political or topical focus and puts factual information above aesthetic concerns. In doing this, Documentary Theatre works off the continuous tension and juxtaposition of the actual situation and documents and the fiction of the narrative performed for an audience.

Some critics of Documentary Theatre claim that it assumes objectivity while it itself creates a subjective or biased perspective or perspectives. Verbatim Theatre is a branch or subset of Documentary Theatre because it concentrates on using the words and testimonials of people involved or interviews and tries to use these words in a relatively unedited or transformed form to create the narrative and or drama of the performance.

In its purest form, Verbatim Theatre uses the real words of those interviewed exclusively. Most often this involves selected speeches and sentences from the transcripts being used as dialogue, speeches or lines in the performance piece. However, the use of recorded voice delivery or video playback during performance where the theatre makers have recorded interviews play them back during the performance is another common technique.

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This allows the performers to watch, respond to or even directly mimic, mime or accompany the words and interview of the people and events being portrayed.

Documentary Theatre probably has formed part of theatre over many centuries and theatre makers and playwrights have probably used it as a form to develop dialogue and speeches.

Conventions of verbatim theatre

Certainly European Medieval Drama and Elizabethan Drama contain aspects of real events and testimonies. However, probably the first pieces of modern theatre which consciously and openly used Verbatim Theatre techniques were the Living Newspaper theatre experiments of Erwin Piscator in the ;s in Germany.

In Spite of Everything! This play was a review about the history of the Communist Party and it used interviews, recorded speeches, newsreel footage, filmed sequences and montages. Piscator went on to direct other plays which included Verbatim Theatre and Documentary Theatre techniques.

The Verbatim form of Documentary Theatre made many advances with the productions by Englishman Peter Cheeseman and his productions at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent from — The piece was performed to many of the ex-steel workers who had been interviewed and had lost their jobs.

David Hare can be seen as one of major exponents of the Verbatim form of Documentary Theatre and many of his plays use the techniques of Verbatim Theatre for both the development of material and for performance techniques.

Verbatim theatre has also proliferated internationally. Anna Deavere Smith is also one of the most high profile documentary makers. Some interesting articles on how to approach or write Documentary or Verbatim Theatre include the following article by playwright Alecky Blythe.Violet Club was the first high yield weapon deployed by the British, and was intended to provide an emergency capability until a thermonuclear weapon could be developed from the Christmas Island thermonuclear tests known as Operation Grapple.

After the Americans tested a thermonuclear weapon in , followed by the Soviets with Joe 4, and before the UK government took a decision in July Jan 11,  · Verbatim theatre is a style of documentary theatre and/or research which is developed from the transcripts and recordings of people interviewed normally centering on the interviewers observations, insights and experiences about a topic, event or theme.

•Develop understanding of the conventions of scriptwriting by analysing Verbatim Theatre playscripts, including layout/format, nature of the descriptions of locations, settings and character. •Explain and model scriptwriting process — drafting, workshopping, editing and redrafting.

From the BOS Drama Syllabus: Topic 8: Verbatim Theatre This topic explores, theoretically and experientially, plays written using the words of people interviewed about an issue or event and the social context, which gave rise to these plays.

Verbatim Theatre involves the creation of theatre that is drawn from word-for-word interviews with real people. It has been used to explore events in recent history such as 9/11, the murder of Matthew Shepard, and the race riots in Los Angeles.

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