Choreographed by Amber Funk Barton
Alley Theatre is currently seeking interviewees for a project called #whatnow. It is a documentary-style theatre project initiated by myself (Marisa Emma Smith, Artistic Producer of Alley Theatre) in partnership with Good Night Out Vancouver.
#whatnow will be a headphone verbatim theatre and dance creation that shares real-life experiences of both survivors of sexual violence or harassment and people who may have created harm. In headphone verbatim theatre, interviews with non-actors are recorded and then edited into a desired structure. Those recordings are then played to actors through earphones, and while on stage the actors mimic and repeat what they hear. Every cough, stutter and hesitation are reproduced, and the actors do not “memorize the lines” at any point. Meanwhile, the audience is fully aware that the performers are – in that very moment – vessels for real-life people. The stories shared in #whatnow will be a diverse collection ranging from unintended harassment to sexual assault and will be interwoven and underscored by dance. Running approximately 45 minutes to an hour, each performance will be followed by a professionally facilitated conversation.
With this project I hope to open up a healthy and supported dialogue around how to create a culture of consent and respect for all genders in our community. I intend to do this by sharing multiple perspectives and stories surrounding the issue in an intimate, artful and humanizing way. I want to expose sexual misconduct and sexual violence as a larger societal issue that we are all part of and that we can all change in small or big ways.
The Interview Process
Interviews can last up to 1.5 hours but can be shorter if both you and I feel that enough information has been shared. If you feel it would be helpful, we can provide a debriefing after your interview with a support worker or even have a support worker present during your interview. However, this is at your discretion. If you’d prefer not to have a support worker present that is fine. Your name could also be kept from that support worker if you choose.
You will not be compensated for your interview financially. Your participation is completely voluntary. If you wish, I can send you a list of questions ahead of time so that you can formulate what you would like to say or we can leave it more open to what you want to share on the day. To keep the process organic, I might also ask questions that aren’t on my initial list, as your story might spark a more specific conversation. If you think of something after your interview, that you would like to share, we can set up a subsequent interview or you can share the information over the phone if you feel comfortable.
Privacy of your Information and Identity
At no point will your name be shared with anyone beside myself. The audio file will be stored on both my computer’s internal hard drive and on an external hard drive, which will be kept hidden and locked in my apartment. If your interview or a part of your interview ends up being used in the production, the only people who will hear your voice are myself, the sound editor, my artistic mentor and the cast of 2-4 performers. Your name will not be shared with any of these people. If you are concerned that your voice might be recognized by any of these people, I can use voice alteration software to disguise your voice.
Continued Consent and Communication
Before you give your interview, you will sign a legal consent form, which we will go over in detail so that you understand all that it entails. These consent forms will only be seen by you and myself. As part of this process I will continually check in with you to make sure you are still comfortable with me using your story. You will be sent the audio clip of what parts of your interview, if any, I hope to use in the production beforehand so that you can approve them. You will also be invited to a sharing of the work in progress or will be sent a video file so that you can have more context for how your story fits into the performance. Finally, I will always be available by phone and email if you have further questions or concerns or would like to schedule a further interview or restate something in different wording. I want this to be a two-way conversation and for it to be an empowering process for all involved.
CONTACT: Please email email@example.com to set up an interview by January 15, 2018.
This project is currently supported by Vancouver Civic Theatres as part of the SeeMore Theatre Series and is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts as well as the Province of British Columbia.