Verbatim Theatre Lesson 3: Conducting Research

Task 1

Watch the YouTube clip and answer these questions.

  1. What are the two stages to the way Alecky Blythe works?
  2. Why do you think it is important to not just copy what people say but also to copy the way things are said?
  3. How does Alecky Blythe captures “scenes” as well as face to face interviews?
  4. What are your thoughts on the methods Alecky Blythe uses to create her theatre? Is it sustainable? How effective, easy and accessible do you think this kind of research is?

Task 2

Watch this YouTube video on designing semi structure interviews. The kind of research you will want to do for your Verbatim Theatre piece will be from interviews with family members you live with or others who you can contact via FaceTime, Skype or other internet-based contact.

As you watch take notes on the top tips for creating an interview guide.

Task 3

Write your list of questions for your interview using the 6 top tips from the video. The key is to keep the questions open and allow yourself to be able to ask follow up questions so that you can get all the information available. Ask questions that will help your interviewees to open up about what they are talking about. Ask them questions that will help them to retell the events, not just their own perspectives of events, but the perspectives of others. Also try to get them to talk about conversations they’ve had and the things that others have said.

Write a list of people who you want to and can interview for your piece of Verbatim Theatre.

Task 4

Conduct your research by interviewing the people on your list.

We are only going to be able to write this piece of Verbatim Theatre through interviews as we are unlikely to be able to record complete ‘scenes’ as Alecky Blythe does.

Wherever possible, use a recording device to record the interviews. This will mean that you can listen to them again afterwards and hear the way different accents, intonations and emphasis used by the speaker. Don’t worry if this is possible for everyone, you can record your responses in writing, but try to have at least one person recorded.