“I am very interested in the question of who’s allowed to say what in Australia.”
-Roslyn Oades

In the third episode of our season on responsibility in art, Roslyn Oades, director, actor and a pioneer in the field of headphone verbatim theatre joins hosts Fleur and Jana.

We talk about responsibility in the field of verbatim theatre: what it means to represent someone else’s story, building a right of reply into your work, ethical eavesdropping and how the response and willingness of the individual participant does not necessarily reflect the response of the community they are a part of.

“A boxer wrote on a boxing forum: ‘Who is this stupid slut Roslyn Oades who thinks she knows something about boxing?’… The word had spread in the community. He hadn’t seen the show, he didn’t know me, but he had heard that a woman was making a show about boxing, and he was offended.”
– Roslyn Oades

Discussed in this episode: 

The manipulative power of the voice, whose allowed to say what in Australian society, the actor’s body as a piece of documentary, authenticity and the illusion of authenticity, verbatim theatre and the responsibility an artist has to their participants, Brecht and alienation, Ugly Mugs and the reaction of the sex worker community, community engagement.

“I’m always very aware that I get more out of the scenario than the participants and that’s a responsibility. I have to trust my moral compass and hope that its good enough.”
– Roslyn Oades

Stay tuned: we have more exciting and intellectually rigorous conversations to come.

Podcast bibliography:

Caroline Wake, The Politics and Poetics of Listening: Attending Headphone Verbatim Theatre in Post-Cronulla Australia (Theatre Research International, Volume 39, 2014)

Richard Watts, Sex Workers accuse Griffin, Malthouse of exploitation (Arts Hub, 13 August, 2014)