Research for this project included reading a range of texts pertaining to soap opera, including titles such as 'Motley Moments: Soap Operas, Carnival, Gossip and The Power of Utterance' in Television and Women's Culture:The Politics of the Popular (London: Sage, 1990), Bursting Bubbles: Soap Opera Audiences and the Limits of Genre (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), and ‘All's Well that Doesn't End: Soap Operas and the Marriage Motif' in Camera Obscura no. 16 (Jan 1988).
This research extended that of my MA thesis (Slade School of Art, 1998), and an article I wrote for Extreme Exposure:An Anthology of Solo Performance Texts From the Twentieth Century, Ed. Jo Bonney (New York: TCG, 2000).
Clearly the research and development stage of the project also involved interviews with family members, and a long process of outlining and scriptwriting. The Londoners was based on carefully outlined plot synopses, distilled from fully developed (but ultimately unread) scripts.
Further areas of research included an examination of such parlour game forms as the role-playing ‘murder mystery’ – games in which 'guests' are invited to arrive as a character, then given further instructions pertaining to their relationships to other characters and their motivations. The analysis of the structure of such games informed the way in which participants were invited and prepared.
Looking at how stages of these games were orchestrated and how a host must take on both an outside role, in order to coordinate the whole, and a certain responsibility for setting the scene proved an invaluable area of research when it came to strategizing and structuring the final stages of production. Some viewing of episodic soaps such as Eastenders, Coronation St and Neighbours also provided valuable background research.
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