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David Porter » Entries tagged with "political theatre"

Verbatim Theatre Speaks for Itself Loud and Clear

‘Verbatim’ is a kind of documentary theatre in which drama is made from the precise words spoken by people in evidence, witnessing or remembering. Verbatim originated in the USA in the 1930s’ Depression where a federally funded program, Living Newspaper Project, set actors sifting daily newspapers to create theatre to inform and motivate audiences. Owing something to Brecht, it later influenced Augusto Boal in Brazil and Joan Littlewood in Britain. In 1965, Peter Weiss in Germany wrote The Investigation which publishers Marion Boyars described as: ‘a dramatic reconstruction of the Frankfurt War Crimes trials, based on actual evidence’. Weiss edited extracts from testimonies ‘concerning Auschwitz and the atrocities enacted there’ into a dramatic document ‘that relies solely and completely on facts for its effectiveness’. There is no dramatic writing, no manipulation of facts/figures. … Read entire article »

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Making Fun of Parliament & Politicians: A Fine British Tradition

Britain has long enjoyed a liberty to deflate political pomposity and bring egos to earth with art, print & performance that is envied in other democracies In July 2007, Press Gazette reported that New Zealand’s Parliament voted ‘far-reaching powers to control satire and ridicule of MPs in Parliament, attracting a storm of media and academic criticism’. The new standing orders dealt with use of images of Parliamentary debates, and made it a contempt of Parliament for anyone to use footage of the chamber for “satire, ridicule or denigration”.’ No such prohibition yet exists in the UK. Indeed, there is a tradition of criticising policies and politicians through comedy, satire, ridicule, lampooning and caricature. The UK Parliamentary website argues that political satire ‘represents a distinctive and innovative tradition in British art and is … Read entire article »

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