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TODAY’S AGENDA Feedback on performance exercise about In Extremis (from last week’s session) Two groups to perform Reading Week exercise Reminder about.

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Presentation on theme: "TODAY’S AGENDA Feedback on performance exercise about In Extremis (from last week’s session) Two groups to perform Reading Week exercise Reminder about."— Presentation transcript:

1 TODAY’S AGENDA Feedback on performance exercise about In Extremis (from last week’s session) Two groups to perform Reading Week exercise Reminder about first assessment next week Introduction to Verbatim Theatre Verbatim exercise Comments Performance exercise on Cruising * We will be finishing at 3:50!

2 PORTFOLIO ITEM 1: DIRECTORIAL PITCH D UE M ONDAY 25 TH N OVEMBER Taking ONE of the plays studied during Unit One: Naturalism to Symbolism make a pitch for a specific directorial approach to staging the play drawing evidence from the play and wider critical reading. You may offer suggestions for stage and costume designs to supplement your interpretation. (750 words or equivalent)

3 PORTFOLIO ITEM 1: DIRECTORIAL PITCH D UE M ONDAY 25 TH N OVEMBER This portfolio item is inviting you to offer a justifiable idea for a way of staging one of the plays you have studied in the Naturalism to Symbolism unit. You can justify your directorial choices by drawing evidence from a wide variety of sources including:  the text ;  secondary reading ;  knowledge of the original historical period of the play or a strong feeling that the play could be creatively evoked by drawing on another historical period ;  prior productions of the text you are aware of;  external stimulus drawn from politics, society or popular culture, etc.

4 PORTFOLIO ITEM 1: DIRECTORIAL PITCH D UE M ONDAY 25 TH N OVEMBER Your written pitch for a directorial approach to staging your chosen play can be supplemented by references to specific theatres/locations for performance and/or design ideas (staging, costume, lighting, etc.) through mood boards or other visual means. Please be mindful that your word limit is 750 words or equivalent so please do not write 750 words and then add visual materials, etc. If you want to include visual materials think about how you communicate your central idea economically through text – which can then be ‘brought to life’ with your visual materials. You can e-submit your portfolio or submit a hard copy to our department secretary, Kate Brennan, if e-submission is inappropriate.

5 V ERBATIM T HEATRE

6 Verbatim = ‘word for word’

7 W HAT IS VERBATIM THEATRE ? Original definition ‘Theatre firmly predicated upon the taping and subsequent transcription of interviews with ‘‘ordinary’’ people’ (Paget 1987)

8 V ERBATIM THEATRE TODAY ‘The “plays” are edited (or... transmutations of) interviews with individuals. Sometimes these interviews are taped and transcribed, sometimes actors work directly with the tapes themselves. Whatever the variants, aural testimony constitutes the basis for theatrical representation’ (Paget 2009)

9 T HE PROBLEM WITH TERMINOLOGY : D OCUMENTARY / F ACT -B ASED / V ERBATIM Fact-based theatre includes extra-theatrical / non-fictional material in the form of documents and/or testimonies... Document: ‘hard copy’ providing information, evidence or a record of something Testimony: “a declaration of truth or fact” (important in legal and religious discourses)

10 T HE PROBLEM WITH TERMINOLOGY : D OCUMENTARY / F ACT -B ASED / V ERBATIM Verbatim Theatre: Testimonies Other sources: records, statistics, public statements, reports, letters... Documentary Theatre: factual, based on extra- theatrical material

11 T HE PROBLEM WITH TERMINOLOGY : D OCUMENTARY / F ACT -B ASED / V ERBATIM Sources: “records, documents, letters, statistics, market-reports, statements by banks and companies, government statements, speeches, interviews, statements by well-known personalities, newspaper and broadcast reports, photos, documentary films and other contemporary documents” (Weiss 1971) “In tribunal theatre, the ‘plays’ are edited transcripts (‘redactions’) of trials, tribunals and public inquiries. These constitute the basis for theatrical representation” (Paget 2009)

12 T HE D OCUMENTARY T RADITION o Russia (post-1917): ‘agitprop’, montage (Eisenstein), the Living Newspaper (touring groups) o Germany (1920s and 1930s): Erwin Piscator pioneered the use of documentary material and technology (projected images and film) on stage, Bertolt Brecht adopted these epic techniques; post- war tribunal plays (e.g. Peter Weiss) o USA (1930s): The Federal Theater Project had a Living Newspaper Unit directed by Hallie Flanagan o Britain (late 1920s to 1970s): from the Workers Theatre Movement to Theatre Workshop; combination of documentary and popular entertainment forms

13 F UNCTIONS OF VERBATIM THEATRE In relation to the concept of the ‘public sphere’: Critical: to re-examine official versions of events Inclusive: to give voice to the voiceless “Both The Permanent Way and Talking to Terrorists advance at least two of the paradigmatic principles of the Habermasian public sphere: inclusiveness, by bringing to the fore the words of private people who otherwise would not have access to public arenas, and common concern, by articulating discourses of public interest which are independent – and critical – of state or market powers and their interpretations (of privatization and terrorism, respectively)” (Botham 2008)

14 F UNCTIONS OF VERBATIM THEATRE 1. To reassess international/national/local histories 2. To celebrate repressed or marginalised communities and groups, bringing to light their histories and aspirations 3. To investigate contentious events and issues in local, national and international contexts 4. To disseminate information, employing an operational concept of ‘pleasurable learning’ 5. To interrogate the very notion of documentary. 1. Joan Littlewood’s Oh What a Lovely War (1963) 2. Peter Cheeseman’s community work at Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent 3. Tanika Gupta’s Gladiator Games (2005) 4. Kieron Barry’s Stockwell: The inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes (2009) 5. Moisés Kaufman’s The Laramie Project (2000) Paget (2009):Some Examples:

15 A W IDE S PECTRUM OF P RACTICES Rehearsed readings, e.g. Ice&Fire Tribunal plays, e.g. Tricycle Theatre ‘Hybrid’ forms, e.g. Out of Joint (David Hare) Headphone verbatim, e.g. Recorded Delivery Verbatim + Physical Theatre, e.g. DV8 ‘Fake’ verbatim: Dennis Kelly’s Taking Care of Baby

16 T HE T RICYCLE T HEATRE ( FORMER DIRECTOR : N ICOLAS K ENT ) Tricycle’s Tribunal Plays:  Half the Picture: The Scott Arms to Iraq Inquiry (1994)  Nuremberg: 1946 War Crimes Trial (1996)  Srebrenica: UN War Crimes Tribunal (1996)  The Colour of Justice: The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (1999)  Justifying War: Scenes from the Hutton Inquiry (2003)  Bloody Sunday: Scenes from the Saville Inquiry (2005) Other Verbatim Plays at the Tricycle:  Guantanamo: Honour Bound to Defend Freedom (2004)  Called to Account: The Indictment of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair for the Crime of Aggression against Iraq – A Hearing (2007)  The Riots (2011)

17 R ECORDED D ELIVERY D IRECTOR : A LECKY B LYTHE Come Out Eli (2004) Strawberry Fields (2005) All the Right People Come Here (2005) I Only Came Here for Six Months (2005) Cruising (2006) The Girlfriend Experience (2008) Do We Look Like Refugees?! (2010) London Road (2011)

18 C RUISING (2006) Showing a hidden reality (like Naturalism) or sensationalist/exploitative? Between Stanislavski and Brecht? What is the effect of the use of headphones and casting choices in this case? What is the role of humour? How should actors approach it? Does it work in performance?

19 B IBLIOGRAPHY Blythe, Alecky. ‘Alecky Blythe’. Verbatim, Verbatim: Contemporary Documentary Theatre. Ed. Will Hammond and Dan Steward. London: Oberon Books, Botham, Paola. ‘From Deconstruction to Reconstruction: A Habermasian Framework for Contemporary Political Theatre’. Contemporary Theatre Review 18.3 (2008): ‘Witnesses in the Public Sphere: Bloody Sunday and the Redefinition of Political Theatre’. Political Performances: Theory and Practice. Ed. Susan C. Haedicke, Deirdre Heddon, Avraham Oz, and E.J. Westlake. Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, Megson, Chris. ‘“The State We're In”: Tribunal Theatre and British Politics in the 1990s’. Theatres of Thought: Theatre, Performance and Philosophy. Ed. Daniel Watt and Daniel Meyer-Dinkgrafe. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, Paget, Derek. ‘‘‘Verbatim Theatre’’: Oral History and Documentary Techniques’. New Theatre Quarterly 3.2 (1987) : ‘The Broken Tradition of Documentary and Its Continued Powers of Endurance’. Get Real: Documentary Theatre Past and Present. Ed. Alyson Forsyth and Chris Megson. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, Weiss, Peter. ‘The Material and the Models: Notes Towards a Definition of Documentary Theatre’. Theatre Quarterly 1.1 (1971):


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