This is the second activity on devising. This activity can be used as an immersion on the topic. You can find more activities on devising here.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
Amount of participants doesn’t matter, however it must be even.
One chair per person is required for stage 3.
Stage 1: The group is split into two even groups. Each group forms
a row facing the other group.
Stage 2: Pairs are formed. One member of the pair is A while the
other is B.
Stage 3: The pairs made in stage 2 are kept in this stage. Stage 1
should last 10 minutes, stage 2 should last 20 minutes and stage 3
should last 25 minutes, leaving 5 minutes for reflection.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTIVITY
To perform a piece of verbatim theatre. To understand the ethical issues that surround verbatim theatre.
Stage 1: One of the groups turns around so that they cannot see the
other. The group that have not turned around then change something
small about their appearance. The group that turned around now
turns back to face the other group once more. They must see if they
can spot what has changed in the appearance of each individual in
the opposite group. The groups swap over.
Stage 2: All A’s are asked to walk around the room. All B’s are asked
to sit and observe their partner. B’s must then begin to follow their
partner. B’s must copy the walk of A. In time, B’s are asked to
exaggerate 2 features of A’s walk. A’s are then asked to sit down and
they observe their partner’s exaggerated version of their walk. The
roles are swapped and the activity is repeated.
Stage 3: A’s are asked to think of a story that they have told before
about themselves. This story can be something funny or
embarrassing. B’s are asked to sit, watch and listen to A’s story. The
setup is important and is as follows; B sits down and waits for A to
arrive. A sits in the chair and proceeds to tell their story. B does not
speak or ask questions. They mentally take note of all the physical
gestures made by A, as well as the content of the story. A leaves
once they are finished and B gets a chance to rehearse the
story that they just heard. B’s are then asked to perform the story to
the other groups as if they were A, as well as performing all the
observed gestures. Once all stories have been performed, the roles
After stage 2 the A’s are asked how they feel about seeing the B’s
performing their walk in an exaggerated way. The facilitator
introduces the idea that in verbatim theatre, the original story that is
being communicated is filtered through the lens of the theatre
maker. This means that the performance is never an exact copy of
the original story, it is the creation of something new.
Reflection is vital after stage 3. Performers are asked about how it
felt for them to tell their stories to somebody in a private space and
then to see the story being performed in a wide and public space.
Do they regret some of the things they said? Or are there things
about the story that they would like to change? They are also asked
about how they felt performing the stories of their partner, and the
responsibility they felt.