“MY NAME IS EVA NOT EVIE!”

Over the last few months I have been working on a piece of Verbatim Theatre, carrying out interviews with the girl the piece is about.  She is someone I have know since she was a young child and having seen her grow up and then face the difficulties she has faced I just spent time chatting with her.  Letting her talk, not usually about her condition or her attempts on her life, but about what she had for dinner, the fact that she hadn’t been able to shave her legs for two months, how annoying the staff and other patients were, the fact that she was absolutely fine, while it was clear to me that she wasn’t, dying her hair, anything other than what she had done.  

Listening back to the interviews, her voice in my ear for hours on end I am able to hear how frightened she is, there is an edge to her voice,  Her conversation flits from one thing to another and bringing her back to the focus of the conversation is constant.  The laughter and the chat about nonsense is filled with moments where she reflects on her family, herself and her situation. She gets frustrated about how stupid everyone is and the fact they get her name wrong, saying “ my name is…. not ….. “   We have decided to call her Eva “My name is Eva, not Evie!”

In the rehearsal room I have become aware that we have so much material, the interviews and diaries she has kept while in hospital.  The challenge has been picking out the thread of the story and deciding on what we want the piece to say.  Working with one performer,  a musician and no fully formed script is an exciting way of working.  Sitting down with some of the material and deciding as a group what we are going to use and how were are going to use it.   The girl in the interviews has become someone other than the young girl who I used to watch practicing her flute, doing cartwheels in the garden or falling out with her little brother.  She has become Eva.  While this is necessary for the piece and the process, being too attached to the material could potentially make it difficult to make the right decisions.  However it is also just as important to remember we are telling the story of a 17 year old girl who used to love doing cartwheels.