Directing using Verbatim Theatre

Recently in class we have been working on using interviews with people in a variety of work places, turing those into Verbatim monologues and then piecing them together in an ensemble performance. This blog will share ideas they had and give you a few things to watch.

If you are unfamiliar with Verbatim theatre, then visit this very comprehensive site:

http://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/genres/verbatim-theatre-iid-2551

This is a comprehensive introduction to Verbatim Theatre written by Dr Tom Cantrell, Lecturer in Drama, University of York, 2012.

watch these short films about the Larami Project and ‘Talking to Terrorists’:

Having watched these short films and done our own research on Verbatim we asked the following questions:

  • From what you have seen, what could you use?
  • In the performance we will do how will you select what to say?
  • What is important from your interview for the audience?

We then worked as a group to create the monologues, and then answered the following questions:

  • What is the essence of your character?
  • What animal and element traits will you build on in performance? Explain your choices
  • What impact do you want on the audience in terms of mood, opinion, thoughts, impressions?
  • How will you incorporate the group/ensemble into your performance.

When you are working on your own Verbatim performances you can of course steal any of our ideas, but make sure you source them! Here is our list about how to include the ensemble in Verbatim:

  • Introduce ourselves and our jobs
  • Have sections where key words are echoed
  • Have sections of monologues performed that overlap and are in conflict
  • Have a section where the person not the job shines through
  • Have the ensemble create the environment
  • Have sections where there is action and no movement to show the jobs

I hope that this work inspires you and if you use it source it as students at the American School of Bombay under the instruction of Fenella Kelly.

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