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AMY CLARE TASKER: ON MAKING VERBATIM THEATRE
Amy Clare Tasker is the director of Home Is Where, a production which weaves headphone verbatim, music, movement and multimedia together. Amy kindly allowed us to reproduce part of her blog, where she writes about the challenges and excitement of bringing new work to the stage...
Devising is done and we’re on to the next phase: shaping all these impulses, elements, and ideas into a coherent and cohesive script.
Guleraana and I got together with a stack of sticky notes (one of my all-time favourite creative tools!) and made a list of the Things We Could Do: ideas of visual moments, technical possibilities, thematic concepts, character relationships… Those became magenta sticky notes: 'political context soundscape,' 'tweets from outside HQ,' 'headphone verbatim broadcast projection,' 'lighting actors with torches in blackout.'
Some of those ideas have narratives intrinsically attached to them, so we started putting them together with plot points, things we knew we wanted to happen during the course of the play, and developments in character relationships.
Before long, our sticky notes found their way into a rough 3-act structure, which Guleraana has sent off to the cast and creative team. Now she’s working on putting dialogue into the framework, I’m combing through our 30+ hours of verbatim interview material to choose sections to feature, Yaiza is starting to write music for the opening soundscape, and Paula is sketching out a choreography to teach the cast on our first day of rehearsal. Clarissa is creating beautiful flyers and getting the word out to audiences about the show (among about a thousand other things – producing is a hugely varied and demanding job!).
In a perfect world, we’d have more time (read: funding) to develop the overall structure with the cast, layering in their impulses, new character discoveries, alternative narrative ideas, more complex technical designs, and working together to fill in the details of the big picture. As it stands, we won’t know until we start our rehearsals at Rich Mix (in just two weeks’ time!) exactly how all the elements will all come together, and then we’ll have just 8 rehearsal days before Home Is Where takes the stage.
But this is a surprising and fruitful way to make theatre, an exhilarating risk we take with our work, and I am so excited to share our hot-off-the-press play. It’s been years of development (we started interviewing Third Culture Kids in 2014) and yet it still feels 'soon' to be bringing Home Is Where to its first audience. And in some ways, this performance at Rich Mix is just the beginning: from here, we’re planning a longer run of performances in London (probably after further edits to the script, another rehearsal period, and an expansion of our design team), and eventually a tour around the UK.
Book now to see Home is Where on Fri 2 Sep – and check out Guleraana’s free pre-show workshop, using performance games and inclusive discussion to delve into the themes of the play: home, culture, and belonging. The workshop is offered in partnership with HOPE not hate as part of their #MoreInCommon campaign. September 2-4 is a national Weekend of HOPE.
To read the full-length version of this piece, please visit Amy's blog.