1 photographer, 5 actors, 1 director and 1 blogger – hi again!
Verbatim theatre – made from real people’s words.
Instead of creating characters and plots from places of imagination Rock Bottom draws from real life accounts, presented as videos, voice notes, text conversations and written documentation.
In the same way that “based on a true story” spanning a screen at the start of a film brings an instant gravitas to the upcoming scenes, knowing that the words being realised in this room stem from lived experiences adds a deeper level of emotion, intrigue and responsibility.
Each story told, either shared round a tabletop activity, listened to and repeated, or developed into a performance, brings comparisons and stark contradictions from the one told just moments before. As we build databases and spreadsheets, draw inspiration from others and breathe life back into transcriptions, twists and turns unravel and play out before our eyes.
The retellings are laced with recurring themes that provide insight as well as elements that we can all relate to on one level or another, but in the same moment the intricacies surrounding individuals and their mental health are undeniably clear.
A day spent delving deep into material: drawing quotes, transcribing analysing and exploring. An overwhelming desire to escape rings true in so many of the stories. An ultimate decision to give up or carry on… hitting Rock Bottom. The subsequent events and the consequent road to recovery, however, differ immensely. The saving grace in one story was the downfall for another.
Discussions of self-help, medication, competition within mental health – building a strong base of understanding from research and discussion to ensure that all stories are treated with respect and all decisions are justified.
Speaking the words of others, treating them with sensitivity and understanding their power.
Whilst our lunchtime walk was rained off by a classic Manchester downpour, the energy in the room allows for discovery through fun whilst establishing the balance between interpretation and truthfulness.
Roll on day 3!
See you tomorrow!
A special 'thank you' to Mark Russell for joining us in the room today and taking wonderful photos.