Developing Shame

After spending a week at the Playwrights’ Studio in July working on the text, we spent last week at the Citz working with a projector and screen for the first time, putting the visuals and live text together, experimenting with style. The mixture of live narrative and digital content was always intended for this piece and this week is the first time we have been able to properly experiment with that. As well as playing with how the live text is performed in the space we also explored how the live character (Vicky) interacts with the projected media, and also her relationship with her own “technology” (a tablet and a smart phone) on stage.

As we’re getting further into the development, redrafting is a daily occurrence. We’re tightening the plot and discovering how the tension in the story builds, snipping away extraneous threads and inconsequential characters. Bringing different characters to life on stage, solo, (as opposed to on the screen) and timing this to fit in with the audio of pre-recorded video footage requires a significant amount of concentration, precise direction and the time and space to practice. We have another week of R&D to get things slick, however, we are aiming towards a work in progress sharing rather than full production so there is still plenty of room to try things out.

We have some great music for the piece composed by Pauline Morgan who also composed the music for REaD. The sounds she has created perfectly compliment the story we are telling and provides a powerful underscore to the drama unfolding.

The aesthetics for the visuals have developed from an originally rather literal imagining of the digital world to one of a more fluid and mutating presence, giving a sense of the murky, intangible effect instant technology has on our consciousness.

Finding Vicky’s voice is another principal factor to this process. Although I wrote the part for myself to perform, she is definitely not me. I can relate to her and a lot of the things she says I agree with, but she has had a very different life to mine. I would have been scared of her in high school. I’d probably be a bit scared of her now if I didn’t know her. I hope she wouldn’t think I was an idiot. She probably would.
Also this week, a documentary about Revenge Porn was aired on Channel 4. I wasn’t completely sold on the style of the documentary but it was another reminder of how vile and disturbing the world of revenge porn is. The documentary was filmed in England where revenge porn is officially illegal, yet people are still being made victims of the crime. The act of posting revenge porn is illegal however, hosting a site where people post pictures/video, names, addresses and personal contact info of victims is not illegal. Prosecution can only happen when a (18+) victim is able to overcome their feelings of shame and have the courage to press charges. (Cases where the victim is under 18 do not require the victim to press charges, however the police would need to know the victim was underage in order to prosecute).

Revenge Porn is not illegal in Scotland, although some cases have been fought and won using Domestic Abuse or Protection from Harassment law. The fact remains though that legislation alone will not repair the psychological damage that some victims suffer, which often leads them to suffer in silence.
Shame is about shouting back. About collective unshaming. Shaming shamers. It’s about faith in humanity as well as the ugly depths some people sink to.

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