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The Methuen Drama Anthology of Testimonial Plays: Bystander 9/11; Big Head; The Fence; Come Out Eli; The Travels; On the Record; Seven; Pajarito Nuevo la Lleva: The Sounds of the Coup

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This diverse anthology features eight contemporary plays founded in testimonies from across the world. Showcasing challenging and provocative works of theatre, the collection also provides a clear insight into the workings of the genre through author interviews, introductions from the companies and performance images which illustrate the process of creating each piece. Bys This diverse anthology features eight contemporary plays founded in testimonies from across the world. Showcasing challenging and provocative works of theatre, the collection also provides a clear insight into the workings of the genre through author interviews, introductions from the companies and performance images which illustrate the process of creating each piece. Bystander 9/11 by Meron Langsner is an impressionistic but wholly authentic response to the catastrophe as it unfolded and in the days following. Big Head by Denise Uyehara is an interrogation of current perceptions of "the enemy now" as seen through the lens of Japanese American internment during World War II. Urban Theatre Projects' The Fence is a tale of love, belonging and healing. It is a tender work that looks at the adult lives of five family and friends who spent their childhoods in orphanages, institutions and foster homes in Australia. Come Out Eli: Christmas 2002 in Hackney, London, saw the longest siege in British history. Using interviews collected at the time and further material gathered in the aftermath, Alecky Blythe's play explores the impact of the siege on the lives of individuals and the community.The Travels: members of Forced Entertainment undertook a series of journeys during one summer, each travelling alone to locations in the UK to complete tasks determined only partially in advance. This began a mapping process and the creation of a landscape of ideas, narratives and bad dreams.On the Record by Christine Bacon and Noah Birksted-Breen circumnavigates the globe to bring true stories from six independent journalists, all linked by their determination to shed light on the truth.Created by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith and Susan Yankowitz, Seven is based on personal interviews with seven women who have triumphed over huge obstacles to catalyse major changes in human rights in their home countries of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala and Cambodia.Pajarito Nuevo la Lleva: The Sounds of the Coup by María José Contreras Lorenzini focuses upon sense memories of witnesses who were children at the time of the 1974 military coup in Chile.


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This diverse anthology features eight contemporary plays founded in testimonies from across the world. Showcasing challenging and provocative works of theatre, the collection also provides a clear insight into the workings of the genre through author interviews, introductions from the companies and performance images which illustrate the process of creating each piece. Bys This diverse anthology features eight contemporary plays founded in testimonies from across the world. Showcasing challenging and provocative works of theatre, the collection also provides a clear insight into the workings of the genre through author interviews, introductions from the companies and performance images which illustrate the process of creating each piece. Bystander 9/11 by Meron Langsner is an impressionistic but wholly authentic response to the catastrophe as it unfolded and in the days following. Big Head by Denise Uyehara is an interrogation of current perceptions of "the enemy now" as seen through the lens of Japanese American internment during World War II. Urban Theatre Projects' The Fence is a tale of love, belonging and healing. It is a tender work that looks at the adult lives of five family and friends who spent their childhoods in orphanages, institutions and foster homes in Australia. Come Out Eli: Christmas 2002 in Hackney, London, saw the longest siege in British history. Using interviews collected at the time and further material gathered in the aftermath, Alecky Blythe's play explores the impact of the siege on the lives of individuals and the community.The Travels: members of Forced Entertainment undertook a series of journeys during one summer, each travelling alone to locations in the UK to complete tasks determined only partially in advance. This began a mapping process and the creation of a landscape of ideas, narratives and bad dreams.On the Record by Christine Bacon and Noah Birksted-Breen circumnavigates the globe to bring true stories from six independent journalists, all linked by their determination to shed light on the truth.Created by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith and Susan Yankowitz, Seven is based on personal interviews with seven women who have triumphed over huge obstacles to catalyse major changes in human rights in their home countries of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala and Cambodia.Pajarito Nuevo la Lleva: The Sounds of the Coup by María José Contreras Lorenzini focuses upon sense memories of witnesses who were children at the time of the 1974 military coup in Chile.

13 review for The Methuen Drama Anthology of Testimonial Plays: Bystander 9/11; Big Head; The Fence; Come Out Eli; The Travels; On the Record; Seven; Pajarito Nuevo la Lleva: The Sounds of the Coup

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mette

    Overall I wasn't impressed - but then I rarely am by verbatim. As a researcher I love the idea of verbatim, but I always find it underdelivers. Bystander 9/11: it's essentially one persons narrative account of the day and it doesn't go much beyond this. There's not much wider resonance or learning. The most compelling bit was the description of the dust and smells that filled the city for weeks after. I didn't know this and it's also a vivid image and reminder that after the news moved on, the ph Overall I wasn't impressed - but then I rarely am by verbatim. As a researcher I love the idea of verbatim, but I always find it underdelivers. Bystander 9/11: it's essentially one persons narrative account of the day and it doesn't go much beyond this. There's not much wider resonance or learning. The most compelling bit was the description of the dust and smells that filled the city for weeks after. I didn't know this and it's also a vivid image and reminder that after the news moved on, the physical/mental effect on inhabitants remained. But this was a fairly fleeting comment, not a developed metaphor as it could have been. Both this and 'Big Head' are about 9/11 and I struggled with them a bit. I think because it's about a story that I've heard before and also it didn't amplify the voice of a group that's rarely heard from, which I think is pretty pivotal. Interview with playwright of 'The Fence'. 'i took at least half of the words away to get a work that had an emotional fabric and that wasn't just people talking or testifying' Alecky Blythe describes how she decides on a subject matter: "it needs two important factors, firstly characters who are open to being interviewed and secondly narrative potential... If you can't get access to the necessary people to bring it alive, or they don't want to talk you are not going to get very far. Likewise I've met some wonderful, extraordinary people but if there is no story to journey on with them, the piece will lack narrative drive." Alecky describes being more interested in how people react in certain situations than an autobiographical story. And is very open rather than knowing what the play will be when she starts. And rather than formal interview settings, she strives for informal (I'd say ethnographic) as the responses tend to be more spontaneous, relaxed and present tense. She records but doesn't write notes - this is the opposite of the This House guy, and both give the same reasoning; that writing/recording makes people disengage. Though maybe this is a normal person vs politician difference. One of the main issues I had with Come Out Eli is the lack of take home messages. It had narrative thrust by dint of bieng a policing event with beginning/middle/end, but it missed the mark in terms of wider social or political meaning. For me to really care about the seige and Eli I'd need to know why he's in there, what his family life was like growing up. Is he the 'bad guy'or has society failed him? The play doesn't seem to know or care. The other thing I disliked was that the play making process was so exposed. Alecky is there throughout, at some stages actively interviewing, and I think this takes away from the narrative and makes it more character exploration. I'd cut some of the irrelevant side chat, funny or interesting though it is, because it doesn't help drive the play forward.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cullen Elijah McGrail

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cody Armitage

  5. 4 out of 5

    Akem Henry

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brendon

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cody Armitage

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pat Moran

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Bourne

  10. 4 out of 5

    Biganderz

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leila Dando

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephen J. Svoboda

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