Verbatum Theatre - the Laramie Project Essay

612 Words Jul 23rd, 2013 3 Pages
You can collect as much testimony as you want, but until you have structured it into a dramatic story it won’t make for exciting theatre.

Through study of Moises Kaufman’s The Laramie Project and Paul Brown’s Aftershocks I have found that simply collecting and performing testimony will not make for exciting theatre. It is necessary that the structure of the testimony be manipulated in order to engage the audience. Both plays employ a range of dramatic techniques which help bring the characters and their stories to life. One technique used in The Laramie Project which helps add interest to the performance is that of the narrator. The narrator announces the characters name before they speak, and states their profession. An example of
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This helps to ensure audience engagement throughout the whole performance.

One way that Aftershocks encourages audience engagement for the entirety of the play is with the use of John as a reoccurring character to drive the action and story development. John appears to continue his story throughout the script ten times, including the opening and finishing scenes. His blunt nature and use of slang language make John a likeable and relatable character. Because of this it is more likely for the audience to engage with his scenes.

One way in which we attempted to make for exciting theatre when performing the two plays in class was to place emphasis on the use of different voices for different characters. With The Laramie Project we would not use an accent when performing the roles of the people from the Tectonic Theatre Project, but when performing the roles of the characters that live in Laramie we would use a Southern accent. We also attempted to change elements of our voices depending on the characteristics of the character, such as deepening them for a male and making them more high pitched for a female. We did the same thing when performing Aftershocks. Although we didn’t use different accents we would still differentiate our voice between characters according to their characteristics.


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