Friday, May 11, 2012

Good Enough: A Story Shaper's Perspective

Welcome to fifth and final entry in our Good Enough Blog Series. Leading up to the world premiere of Good Enough this Monday, May 14, we are offering a weekly glimpse into the creative process behind crafting and staging a show that chronicles the true stories of five women living with depression or bipolar disorder. One of the most vital parts of our organization are the wonderful people that generously volunteer their time to transcribe, edit and shape our storyteller's interviews into theatrical monologues. This week, we hear from one such special volunteer - Nick Inzeo, who worked on the story of Lyn.

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I'm very honored I had the opportunity to transcribe and shape Lyn's story for Good Enough. My involvement with this story started with me transcribing the audio recording of Lyn's interview into a text document. Even while I worked on this aspect of the project, I felt an immense amount of responsibility to ensure the transcription was as accurate as possible. These words belong to another person. They were chosen by that person to describe a profound, personal journey, and it was extremely important to me that I respected that as much as possible. The process of creating an accurate transcription from an audio recording can be very meticulous...a constant loop of playing a small chunk of dialogue, pausing, rewinding, and replaying that same chunk of dialogue ad infinitum to ensure everything is transcribed correctly. I was mentally prepared for this, but I wasn't prepared for how much of an impression the tone and quality of Lyn's voice would have on me during certain moments of her story and how that would influence my approach to shaping her interview into a monologue.

I can't imagine shaping Lyn's interview into a monologue without having heard the audio recording of her story. On paper, the moments that carried immense weight and emotional heft in the audio recording do not appear to be as important because the impact of actually hearing Lyn tell her story is entirely lost when you simply read the transcript. If I had not been given the opportunity to listen to the audio recording from Lyn's interview, I don't think I would have been able to shape her story into the monologue it became. What really surprised me during the process of shaping Lyn's monologue was how clear the through-line of her story was. This was extremely helpful because editing an interview that lasted over an hour into a monologue that lasts for only a few, short minutes is difficult. Considering the time constraints involved, I challenged myself to edit and shape Lyn's monologue down to it's most basic elements while still maintaining the integrity of the story. I wanted to shape a monologue that told her story in as few words as possible while maintaining the emotional weight felt in her interview. Having such a well-defined through-line for her story was extremely helpful because it helped me choose what elements of her story needed to be included in order to convey her story effectively. Having heard her actually tell her own story was also very helpful. Moments I may have edited out for the sake of economizing my time were left intact because I had the opportunity to hear how important they were to Lyn. I firmly believe this helped me instill as much humanity into this monologue as I could while maintaining the simplicity I strived for throughout the entire process.

I'm very excited for Lyn's story to be shared with audiences and I'm honored I had the opportunity to have any involvement in helping it on its journey to the stage.

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Good Enough is sponsored by Rebecca's Dream and runs May 14, 15, 21 & 22 at 7:30pm at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre. We hope you will join us! For more information, click here.

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