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How Does Verbatim Theatre Attempt to Stage Real Events and Produce Engaging Theatre?

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Verbatim theatre is a style of theatre where the playwright interviews real people that are connected to the topic, theme or event/experience that the play is based around and uses their words to develop a piece of theatre "that is personal and powerful" - http://www.usq.edu.au

A verbatim style play may be based on something such as a disaster, a particular incident, political issues or a dramatic event. The dialogue of verbatim theatre uses the real words from such interviews to construct the play. Verbatim theatre aims to create an intimacy with the audience to create a feeling of closeness with the character but at the same time aims to keep the audience well aware of the fact that they are watching a play and it is not real life, but in fact just based on real events. It aims to make the audience think about what they are seeing.

Verbatim theatre is skilfully constructed to create theatre that is not merely a reconstruction of an event but also an entertaining piece of theatre. This can be done using many techniques. Such techniques include recordings and voice overs. Recorded voice delivery is another branch of verbatim theatre where the actors listen to recorded interviews during their performance so as to correctly imitate exact words and phrases, accents and speech mannerisms of the actual person represented by the character.

Another technique used in verbatim theatre is flash back and juxtaposition. These can be very effective techniques to enhance the quality of a play. Not only do they convey to the audience that what they are watching is not real life but it can create entertainment, dramatic tension and excitement. This is used in Parramatta Girls many times. Most scenes in Parramatta Girls alternates, with one scene being present tense and the next scene being past tense. This contrasts scenes and events, giving the audience insight to things that may other wise go un noticed. In this play it compares past events to current day events to give the audience an understanding of the effects that past events have on the women of Parramatta Girls Home.

Alienation is another them used in verbatim theatre. It is the idea that alienating a particular character will shed light on a certain aspect of the play or create an effect that shows indifference in the story line. It is used so as the audience don't forget that the play, again, is not real by making sure the audience doesn't let them selves get too caught up in the character and emotions. The Laramie Project uses alienation by singling out characters through monologue and unrelated speech between more then one character.

Monologue is a dramatic technique used in all sorts of drama styles including verbatim theatre. It is used in both Parramatta Girls and The Laramie Project. Monologue is useful in giving the perspective, thoughts or subtext of an individual character. It can give the audience insight

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