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Can you perform research data? And if so, can we as scholars/artists turn “research” into an equally exciting and dramatic piece without sacrificing efficacy? Theatre, by definition is both theatrical and engaging. “Situated at the crossroads of theater and anthropology, thanks to the collaborations of Victor Turner in anthropology and Richard Schechner in theater studies” (Koram 3), ethnodrama takes research data off the printed page and disseminates it to a much larger audience on the American stage (see also ; , ). Like traditional theatre and judged for its dramatic quality, ethnodramas are dramatic stories peculiar to a culture or a people that encompass that group’s history, cultural memory, and ethos.
Gleaning dramatic monologues from taped interviews as “transcripted-testimonials,” performed research is a constructed process that mediates issues of authenticity, ownership, and social activism. Who constructs the performance is as critical to the development and process of the project, as insider/outsider dynamics can color or compromise the participant/observation. This essay looks at the impetus behind the North Philadelphia research and its resulting world premiere of the performance piece SHOT! (2009) as the constructed process to performed research.