Do I know these people in real life?
One of the challenges about performing in a verbatim play, where the characters are drawn from where it is both lived and played, is the responsibility towards those people. There’s also a fear that if people recognize themselves in the script, will we, the actors, have done them justice? Or, oh my god, do I know these people in real life?
I don’t know any of the characters I play in real life. I don’t think. But, I do recognize a type of bigotry I portray in one. It comes from the lived experience at being the target of discrimination.
What are the chances that in one adult lifetime one can travel from a profession where your very being is considered illegal to being able to portray your oppressor? That’s quite the arc.
I used to think that if I could only understand the fear and emotion behind the bigotry then I could accurately portray the character. I’ve learned that the words speak for themselves. And the character endures. Something essential endures, no matter who speaks the words.
~ Brenda Barnes (Whitehorse, YT)
Busted Up: A Yukon Story 2018