Towards an ethical dramaturgy : a practice-led research project on verbatim theatre
Mooney, M. (Missy). (2019). Towards an ethical dramaturgy : a practice-led research project on verbatim theatre (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13017
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13017
Verbatim theatre can be understood as the process of collecting verbatim material from real people, usually through recorded interviews, and using it to create a performance text that can be subsequently re-presented by actors in a dramatic context. This thesis argues that the creation of verbatim theatre from the words, experiences and lives of real people is simultaneously a dramaturgical and ethical task. Verbatim theatre practitioners such as Moisés Kaufman, Alecky Blythe, Hilary Halba and Stuart Young acknowledge the ethical responsibility theatre makers feel to honour and accurately re-present their interviewees in their work. However, there is a gap in the collective discourse on verbatim theatre regarding how consideration of the ethical obligations theatre makers have to their interviewees influences the dramaturgical processes and construction of their work. This thesis is primarily concerned with the process of creating verbatim theatre, and uses practice-led and action research methodologies to examine what ethical practice during this process could be. This research used the creation of an original verbatim play titled Strong Female Characters to explore the ethical construction of verbatim theatre. Reflection on this process, combined with examination of the practice of other verbatim theatre makers, informs the key findings of this thesis. In addition to Strong Female Characters and a written thesis this research has prompted the creation of a manifesto that serves as a succinct chapter of this thesis and offers examples of some of the different ways ethical practice could be considered by the verbatim theatre maker and incorporated into their creative and dramaturgical practice.
The University of Waikato
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