Here’s my (inevitably flawed and holey) summary of the fascinating day dedicated to training in verbatim practices, hosted by Kate Craddock as part of a TaPRA Performer Training interim event at Northumbria. Any confusions are all my own.
First Provocation from Tom Cantrell
Where does imitating end and performing begin? “Imitating is a less noble art than acting” But nevertheless close observation and mimicry is part of the craft of verbatim work and of faction. What terminology do we need to capture this strand of the work? And how do we manage the bias towards emotional, empathic acting (from Stanislavsky). What is our ‘craft terminology’ Cantrell asks?
Second Provocation from Lexi Strauss
Developing a growing discomfort about some of the ethical approaches in verbatim work. So how to use the same techniques in paint and fine art? A life time body of work might be the closest to a definitive self portrait? What’s the problem with recorded delivery verbatim then? Perhaps because the original ‘darkness’ of the material might not translate and might be reinterpreted by an audience. Perhaps because its claim to objectivity is specious. Lexi only interviews people with whom she has ‘a specific connection’. The result is a hybrid of the subject and the interviewer/artist. How would you describe your verbatim practice, Lexi asks, is it closer to the journalistic or the immersive – or something entirely different? Either way it needs to acknowledge its hybridity.
Third Provocation from Richard Gregory
How to show our hands? Questions from the work of Quarantine:
No such thing Buying people a free lunch in exchange for a conversation. (No documentation of any part of the conversation, no evaluation, no public airing). Monthly themes: on hope, on risk, on utopia, on what’s new. The work retains the ‘considered rigour’ of the more formal work of the company but invisibly. Dramaturgy based on Starters, Mains, Afters, Today’s special.
Wallflower: Can you remember all the dances you’ve ever danced? How do you develop the facility to be responsible for the dramaturgy and the whole mise-en-scene? All that is possible is to set ‘a delicate architecture’ and be alert to what the possibilities are. One of the biggest questions about training and preparation is ‘How do we know how we are being seen’ [by an audience]?
Summer, Autumn Winter, Spring: 7 hours, (Part 1 – Summer – 40 people on stage from across the age range, without experience, responding to questions and a projected score). As the questions are unseen how do you rehearse the performers? Feed them, make them familiar with the idea of responding to a structure – training for ‘becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable’ Continue reading