Verbatim Theatre Lesson 4: Reviewing our research

Task 1

“Dramatic experience is rooted in actual human experience” (Jonathan Neelands)

What do you think this quote means and how does it relate to Verbatim Theatre?

Task 2

Review you’re the research that you have done so far.

Annotate the research you’ve done using the following labels:

  • Useful to creating and telling a story.
  • Useful to creating characters
  • Useful to establishing backstory
  • Useful to wider plot but not directly related to focus

Task 3

Reflect on the research you’ve done so far. Try to condense each piece of meaningful research you’ve done by condensing it down into a 5- or 6-word summary of it. Write these summaries on different pieces of paper or post notes.

Spread these pieces of paper across the floor, your table or wherever you are working. Then find a way of drawing links between pieces of research. Look for the following:

  • Where people are talking about the same thing
  • Where people are the same age, gender or background
  • Where people have similar viewpoints on an issue as others
  • Where people disagree over issues
  • Link in chronological order as well, earliest memory to most recent.

Task 4

Having reviews our research, answer these questions about it.

  1. What are the key characters that have started to emerge?
  2. What are the key themes that have started to emerge?
  3. What story is starting to emerge? Is there are natural flow to the story you’ve got so far?
  4. How do you think you’ll structure this story based on what you’ve got so far?
  5. What more research do we need to do?

Task 5

Research into the themes, issues and topics uncovered so far. So, you will now need to start researching into these as well. This will be largely internet-based research, looking for newspaper articles, blog posts and encyclopaedia entries.

You need to research into the following:

  • We need to fact check what has already been said – not to correct our interviewees responses but to have a better understanding of what they are talking about.
  • We need to find numbers, statistics or factual information about what people are talking about.
  • We need to find out how the media of the time were reporting on this events people are talking. You also need a range of media to present a range of perspectives. Blog posts can be a useful way source for this.