Where do you put the bomb?

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This essay accompanies two audio pieces which the reader can access via embedded web-links. It is an analytical reflection on the FALLOUT project in which descendants of Nuclear Test Veterans were interviewed with an intention of creating a piece of verbatim theatre. The project however mutated into the creation of a series of audio portraits which mixed the recorded testimonies of the descendants with interviews with experts from other disciplines and dramatic fictional scenes, tying them together with narrative poetry. The first part of the essay describes the creation of the pieces and the decisions behind the form and content. In doing so it discusses notions of authenticity, audience, and reach in relation to verbatim theatre. To aid this articulation the essay suggests that audiences might be categorised in three ways, a tourist audience, an audience of theatre goers, and an invested audience. The attempt to reflect on the mutation from story to portrait draws heavily on the work of anthropologist Joseph Masco. Part 2 is an analysis of the two audio pieces with reference to Masco’s concept of the nuclear uncanny. Masco’s work on the individual, local and national psyche in America following the Manhattan project borrows from Sigmund Freud’s famous notion of The Uncanny, in which contradictions between the strange and the familiar are embraced to create an anxiety which changes an individual’s relationship with their surroundings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUnlikely Journal for the Creative Arts
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Verbatim theatre
  • nuclear exposure
  • mutation
  • audiences
  • storytelling
  • audio

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