Drama uses interviews to create “verbatim” production

This story was originally published in the third edition of The Lion’s Tale (December 9, 2020).

The time alone in quarantine has forced people to confront some difficult moments in their past. The theater department, under the direction of Tim Carter, put on a piece of verbatim theater, drama that uses an interview as their script, to shine a light on some of the mental health struggles that are going on around campus.

Due to COVID restrictions however, the play will be broadcasted digitally via Youtube.

The goal of verbatim theater is for the actor or writer to interview someone about an event in their life and use their answers to create a monologue.

“We turned our interviews into monologues,” said senior Ariana Latorre, an actor in the production. “So whatever the interviews were, we made a monologue out of it and we can either perform it ourselves or we give it to someone else, and we direct them to become the person, and we are just recording it to put it together for the show.”

“We are trying to give them a voice, and there have been a lot of monologues that we wrote from interviews from people that they might have talked about before,” Latorre added.

They will be discussing topics that have been an issue in our environment for years, but now started to become a major concern due to recent events. To create a safe environment for all the audience, a disclaimer will be provided at the beginning of their production before any sensitive topics will be mentioned.

“Some of topics will be about racial profiling, about anxiety, 9/11 events and other personal events about people,” said senior Devin Minnis, another member of the troupe. “I won’t say who specifically [gave] that private information. Just different things that people experience everyday throughout their lives that they usually don’t talk about.”

Anonymity allowed for more open interviews and created an environment of honesty.

“[The students] interviewed people and I don’t even know who they are and the audience won’t know who they are,” Carter, the drama teacher, said. “The students interviewed not just other students, but adults. My son interviewed a police officer that was at the Pulse Night Club shooting.”

Other topics that will be covered are about anxiety, divorce, death of relatives and self-harm. The play will be a way for today’s issues people have faced years prior that are coming to light due to this past year. Sadly, due to some technical issues, Carter said that the production had to be reshot and will be forthcoming on social media, most likely Youtube or Vimeo.

This will no doubt have an impact on the audience who watch the live stream.

“I don’t think its [impact] will be either good or bad, I would see it as if it is believable,” Carter said. “It is mostly a way for people to get their stories out and then people would know that they are not alone.”

Minnis believes the audience will have that same feeling.

“The audience may just get a different point of view…maybe a second opinion about certain topics as something they didn’t realise before… So they can really feel how others feel,” Minnis said.