Introduction
Performing the ‘promise’ of truthfulness: the hybrid practices of contemporary verbatim and testimonial theatre
in Performing the testimonial
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The introductory chapter establishes the central problematics of the book by introducing three interconnected areas of inquiry. Firstly, it considers what has been widely described by a number of commentators as the re-emergence of verbatim theatre practices in the UK, America, Australia and in other parts of the world over the past twenty-five years. Secondly, the chapter argues that the reliance on personal testimony within many contemporary verbatim plays distinguishes this form of theatre from other documentary theatre traditions, requiring us to think afresh about how contemporary verbatim and testimonial theatre practices engage with truth-telling processes that bear witness to real historical events. Finally, the chapter considers the dramaturgical, ethical and political dimensions of a theatre-making practice that represents real events and real people. It does so by examining the truth claims of these kinds of practices and by interrogating how concepts such as truthfulness and authenticity become activated within the different and hybrid dramaturgies that mark out contemporary verbatim theatre practice.

Performing the testimonial

Rethinking verbatim dramaturgies

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