Since October, 2nd year CDT and a mix of BATP students have been working on adapting Truman Capote’s non-fiction retelling of the brutal Clutter murders in Western Kansas. The book is seen today as one of the first of it’s kind, and brought the murder-mystery/non-fiction crime genre to life. So for us, it’s been a true challenge not to be overwhelmed by the gravitas this book is soaked in, and to focus on creating an entertaining piece of Theatre.
The performances on Friday 1st December are essentially showings of what we’ve created over this 10-week Research & Development process. What audiences will be seeing is the first of many redrafts of this work -a preliminary glance at something that we all hope will continue to be developed over the next few years.
We’ve battled with how best to tell the story; the protagonists; the journey of each character; and how to best convert such detailed and ground-shaking events into a piece of Theatre that doesn’t fall into homage, or an attempt at extreme realism.
Working with John Wright, our facilitator and well-versed deviser, has been crucial to not falling into the trap of the cliché -that is, not adapting a non-fiction murder novel into a non-fiction murder play. John believes that the ability to have fun is the key to these processes -especially when dealing with such grave topics. Your best ideas come from the moments when you’re enjoying yourself, and so although these performances contain subjects including rape and murder, the rehearsal room and scene work has very rarely fallen into sadness or solemnity.
Every member of the ensemble has been a part of the writing, the playing, the designing and the research, so every nuance of the performance has been influenced by over 20 artists. We’ve had experts in dramaturgy, design, sound and lighting lead workshops with the group to add more layers to our devising toolkits, and have taken much guidance from LeCoq expert Helen Iskander and her knowledge of movement through the ensemble.
The hour-long performance has come together through this specific group’s skills in collaboration -the skills needed to separate self from the ideas and work; auditioning suggestions for scenes or conventions, even if you don’t yet understand where they’re headed; and always offering alternatives as opposed to ever shutting an idea down. We believe that these principles have taken the work that we show on Friday to a place that none of us could’ve predicted back in October.
Please join us (for free) at the sharing of ‘In Cold Blood’ by BA (Hons) Acting CDT & BA (Hons) Theatre Practice. We are doing 2 showings on December 1st -3pm & 7pm. You can get tickets on the door or can book in advance by emailing email@example.com.