RPTP #12 Some notes on the concept:
Albert Einstein once observed: “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.’ A style of theatre commonly referred to as ‘verbatim’, does the opposite. Instead of adapting or repackaging experiences or observations within fictional dramatic situation, a verbatim play acknowledges, and often draws attention to, its roots in real life. The term verbatim refers to the origins of the text spoken in the play. The words of real people are recorded or transcribed by a dramatist during an interview or research process, or they are appropriated from existing records such as the transcripts of an official enquiry. They are then edited, arranged or re-contextualized to form a dramatic presentation, constructed by the playwright from the words spoken by people interviewed about a particular event or topic. That lends the play an authority that shifts the theater from mere entertainment to a form of reportage, politicizing the audience. Theatre of Fact, also called Documentary Theatre, was a German dramatic movement that arose during the early 1960s. Theatre of Fact playwrights sought to cut through official versions of recent history by using the techniques of advocacy journalism and by a reliance on edited documentary sources. Their work stimulated political drama in Europe and North America, and plays dealing with the Vietnam War and other such events appeared throughout the 1970s. One of the real uses of this sort of verbal appropriation is to take stuff that is indigestible and difficult and not right for a play, inappropriate for putting on stage, wrong dramaturgically, and then put that in the middle of the play and then solve that problem. It forces you to do things that you otherwise would not force yourself to do. And it has another virtue: it is a piece of the real world or somebody else’s way of looking at the world. It is not just you in a narcissistic shell trying to imagine how somebody else feels. It is how somebody else feels; it is what they said. That forces your world view to open up and take them in. With the goal of creating compelling theatre that sets the stage for community dialogue and positive change. elements that may give this work its power and legitimacy include: AGENCY, ARTISTRY, AUTHENTICITY, AUDACITY, ACCURACY and ADVOCACY.