“Documentary theatre … goes beyond pure documentation: it’s about questioning the meaning and significance of truth and information,” writes Mona Mehri in “Staging ‘the Document’ at the Avignon Festival.” Documentary theatre uses existing nonfiction sources—interviews, oral histories, articles, governmental reports, etc.—to create works of performance. In this section, you’ll find content about pieces created this way and thoughts from artists working in this form.
Lee Sunday Evans, the artistic director of New York City’s Waterwell, discusses the power of transcripts in performance, the topics of immigration and deportation, and the urgent attention that needs to be paid to the United States border right now.
Mona Merhi reflects on four productions at France’s 2018 Avignon Festival that were created based on real-life events, people, or documentary material and questions whether staging documents is an ethical process.
Anthony Dvarskas discusses the process of researching and creating America is Hard to See, a documentary theatre piece detailing the lives of a small community of sex offenders, and the town that had to adjust to their new neighbors.
Jonathan Mandell reviews Anna Deavere Smith’s latest solo performance piece, which presents seventeen real-life characters to establish a connection between school failure, the prison system, and police killings.
Playwright Deborah Lake Fortson Addresses the Teenage Sex Trafficking Crisis
5 February 2016
Charlotte Meehan and Adara Meyers sit down with playwrights Deborah Lake Fortson and Amy Merrill, director Robbie McCauley, and law enforcement and community stakeholders to talk about youth sex trafficking and The BODY & SOLD Project.