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    Word for word

    Interviews with a killer, his family and the family of his victim form the basis for the fascinating one-woman, five-character show "Verbatim."


    Aaron Daly doesn't remember killing anybody, but it wouldn't surprise him much if he did and he's not complaining about being in a New Zealand jail. He's used to it.

    At one point in his young but larcenous life, "I started getting caught, started going to prison," he recalls. "But even that's not too bad, 'ey, because it's just like an occupational hazard, 'ey?"

    At least that's the lanky tough guy's attitude at the beginning of "Verbatim," a one-woman, five-character play taken directly from interviews with the killer, his family and the victim's family in a New Zealand murder case. The technique is the one pioneered by Anna Deavere Smith, who used first-person interviews as the basis for fascinating documentary-like plays about the Los Angeles and Crown Heights riots, and it is just as effective in this show.

    Written by: William Brandt, with Miranda Harcourt.
    Directed by: Darcy Marta.
    Cast: Giarna Te Kanawa.
    Fringe Festival 2000

    • Fringe overview
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    • Charlie Victor Romeo
    • Compensation
    • Finally
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    • Verbatim
    • Woman in the Animal Kingdom

    • Fringe 2001
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    Actress Giarna Te Kanawa — a transplant from New Zealand — slips skillfully into the five personae as they remember the young hoodlum's upbringing and the events leading up to the death of an innocent woman in her home. She is particularly transfixing as the jaunty killer himself, who speaks unapologetically about his life and gradually begins to fill in details of the "forgotten" murder like brushstrokes in a painting. By the end, he has remembered the whole thing and we see the full, disturbing portrait of a kid struggling with his own capacity for evil and only the vaguest idea of what's wrong with what he's done. It's a terrific performance by Te Kanawa and one of the best plays in this year's Fringe Festival.

    AUGUST 29, 2000

    Reader comments on Verbatim:

  • Verbatim   from Sarah Robins, Sep 10, 2000
  • Verbatim   from paul, Sep 11, 2000
  • review   from Kylie Mouat, Sep 30, 2000
  • Verbatim   from Anonymous, Sep 3, 2001
  • Verbatim   from Renae Maihi, Aug 8, 2004
  • verbatim   from Matthew , Feb 11, 2010

  • Post a comment on "Verbatim"