Friday, 7 November 2008

Verbatim Theatre 23-10-08

I found the Verbatim lecture very interesting and amusing. The reason being is because a verbatim style of theatre uses the real words from interviewees to construct a play. Once this is captured on a recording, the interviewer needs to transcribe word for word on paper, this means that all humanity of the interview has to be transcribed on paper including all pauses and hesitations. I think that it is a wonderful also difficult technique in creating a piece of theatre because it is really interesting to see real life events taking place as real characters and stories are exposed before our very eyes.

This was proved when we followed an exercise given by Mark during the lecture, we had to get together in two's and name our self's A and B, we than had to carefully watch every detail and action of our partner as they came into the theatre just being themselves whilst having a quite conversation with someone. The person I had to watch was (Flick) knowing the fact I had to represent her back to the class made me realise the risks of verbatim theatre, I agree when I had to get up and present what I captured of Flick's mannerisms and her way of being made me feel really uncomfortable, as I had to exaggerate Felicity's mannerisms in order to make it clear to the audience who I was being. In this case verbatim theatre can not only be used to capture humanity and real life events but also can be used for parody and satire, this particular quality of verbatim is cruel about physicality as it pick up on habits and tics that the actual person is not aware of, unless an exercise like this takes place which exposes these particular mannerisms as than the use of exaggeration enhances the comedy factor to occur. Furthermore this particular exercise made me realise that one has to be very creative in having a good eye in catching and seeing does particular habits, rather than spotting the obvious habits which easily resorts to the mimicking element, it is than very difficult to capture the genuine side of a person and capturing the depth of that person which is a lot more interesting than capturing elements for the sake of comedy.

In this case the (Black Watch) play helps to put across both qualities of verbatim theatre across. Gregory Burke clearly shows that both styles of verbatim theatre work really well, such as exposing the fact that soldier work is not always about war and dead people. He chooses to show the audience his ups and downs of his process in capturing the soldiers stories, this includes where the solders make fun of him. I think that Burke choosing to expose this particular moment to the audience, helps the audience to build a relationship with the solders as it shows to the audience the real life of a solider, In this case Burke later on is able to show the depth of these group of men by beginning the play lightly in exposing the solders way of being, In this case taking the piss out of Burke, I think that his decision in showing him approaching the solders where he teared to pieces, makes me understand the danger of verbatim style, that the interviewer is risking their personal comfort in order to get their material, but once the solders took the piss out of the writer he did not give up which this earned him respect from the solders, and Burke choosing to begin the play showing off his vulnerable moment allows the audience into the world of solders immediately.

On the other hand I think that verbatim theatre can be risky as it confronts the audience with strong uncomfortable issues i.e the 'Cancer tales' and 'Srebenicia massacre' both plays describe the suffering of humans, In which I both agree and disagree that the verbatim style is the best in putting the message across.
Cancer is a Taboo topic that no one enjoys talking about as it is a terminal disease. A year ago I meet someone who is a victim of Cancer and is now one of my close friends, I meet Chris last year in June whilst out on a night out in a Club through my cousins boyfriend who is one of Chris's best friends.

Chris and I simply got talking which I found it really weird because we had some much to talk about even though we did not really know each other, as I became really comfortable and very fond of the conversation taking place. At first I thought he was trying to chat me up, but than I made it clear to him that I already had someone, this did not stop or inhibit the conversation at all which made me feel really relaxed, and Chris made me realise he was not looking for a girlfriend but simply enjoyed the course of the conversation. After a week or so Chris told me that he suffers from liver cancer, as I got really inquisitive about him going into hospital for treatment every day and did not really know why so I asked him.
He was very straight forward with me and he simply said it like he had a simple cold "Oh yeah I have liver cancer" This completely made me think "Oh my God Chris will die soon" I felt very emotional and uneasy as I did not know what to say. In this case the use of verbatim theatre will relate to many audiences of my personal experience. I must agree that in the very early stages I tried to avoid meeting or keeping any longer contact with Chris, as I felt scared about building a friendship and risking losing it, as I thought that cancer can only lead to death, Chris completely realised the reason why I was avoiding him, which made me very emotional and ashamed of my weakness. He told me that he has lost many friends when he told them that he had cancer. This made me realise that cancer not only damages the human body but also social relationships.

Chris reassured me that cancer is not always terminal, as long one has hope strength and support it can defeat the "poisonous disease". He than began to tell me that his father actually died because of liver cancer, the reason being was because he did not follow the treatment or diet, he simply left cancer to take over, which made it clear to me that he will not ever let this happen, this made feel that Chris is a very strong inspirational and loves life more than I do, as I realised that he does not take every day for granted like we do. Therefore I think that verbatim theatre could be used to help inspire cancer sufferers not to give up.

I feel the use of verbatim theatre to inform people about the Srebrenica massacre can be dangerous, as it will massively expose people to the horror of the genocide. I feel that it is also morally wrong, that the affected people by this event will be once again reminded of the pain and suffering. I do not really see in what way this particular piece of theater would be useful. As it would simply make the audience aware of the creative vicious sick minds of the massacre. I personally would not enjoy going to see this sort of verbatim theatre as it would be to disturbing, as it scares me to realise how sick the minds of people can get. And I think that it is a past event that should not be awakened, as nothing can be done about it, but simply bless the hurt souls.

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