I WALK IN YOUR WORDS
Kristine Landon-Smith & The Pidgin Initiative
in collaboration with Tamasha Theatre, Rich Mix, Omnibus Clapham, Blood Moon Theatre & ATYP
Whilst I was at NIDA I taught all my students the headphone verbatim technique invented by Anna Deavere Smith and Mark Wing Davey and used extensively by other practitioners most notably Roslyn Oades and Alecky Blythe. I felt that it was the one tool that could help young practitioners hit the ground running on graduating by making their own work using this technique. In January 2016 I worked with Acting 1 students over the space of three weeks to create a piece of headphone verbatim encouraging the students to “walk in the words” of people who on first glance seemed to have more differences rather than similarities to themselves. It was a great success and I honed this model and have been making a series of I WALK IN YOUR WORDS in both UK and Australia
Interview-based headphone verbatim theatre work challenging cultural stereotypes in the sharing of personal stories about identity, belonging and Britishness.
Immediate, nimble and authentic; headphone verbatim allows for a fast and agile response to the quickly changing political landscape. In developing this technique, its pioneer, Anna Deveare-Smith led a revolution in theatre in 1990s America.
Following Deveare-Smith’s footsteps, I Walk in Your Words is a piece of theatre developed in a matter of weeks – co-founder and former Artistic Director of Tamasha, Kristine Landon-Smith has worked alongside Tamasha Developing Artists to teach actors the headphone verbatim technique. Giving theatre artists the tools to respond rapidly to the issues of the day could not be more crucial in the current global political climate.
The diverse collective of performers have conducted taped interviews with their extended communities which have then been edited & woven into a narrative touching on both the political & personal experience. The material is performed truly verbatim – the actors wear headphones listening to the interviews as they perform. This allows every idiosyncratic detail of the speaker to be captured by the performer. The result - a series of poignant, unpredictable, tender, funny and honest testimonies.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Storytelling and character collide in this stripped back one-off theatre performance in which a group of actors act as the conduit for personal stories they have gathered from a wide cross-section of different London communities. Audiences can expect to laugh, maybe to cry and certainly to think. In a post-show discussion, they will learn how a headphone verbatim show is made and may be inspired to seek out their own stories.