What Story Would You Tell?

In the November 16th post I asked, “If you assume an audience, will it exist?” Much to my surprise, as the days have gone on and I have spread the news of my blog ever so gingerly, you have started to make your presence known to me, and I hope, to each other. Some of you are avoiding the comment button as I probably would too if I were in your shoes. But, I know that many of you have really interesting things to say about the various subjects I have been raising because you’ve either told them to me in person or you have texted or emailed them to me.

So, since this is part blog and part solo performance, and since one of the defining characteristics of the form is to directly interact with and even invite the participation of the audience, it feels like it is time for this blog to engage in direct audience participation. And what better time than now, the holiday season, a season celebrated by all kinds of cultures and faiths coming together and telling stories to one another.

The participation is simple. Click that comment button and tell us what story you would tell in your solo performance.

No need for more than an idea or impression at this point. Maybe just a single line or two or five. Whatever feels right.

Or maybe, like me, you’re more in the mood to create a manifesto, hair or otherwise.

Will you respond to my direct address with silence?

OR will you CLICK that COMMENT button, and perform your story, whether it comes in the form of a single word, sentence, paragraph or more.

What story do you need to tell? To hear? Tell us.

 

14 thoughts on “What Story Would You Tell?

  1. Because it seems important to do so, I will try to offer the shape of my story…it is a journey. Sometimes it takes place in a forest or under the cover of darkness. Other times the setting changes, the moon is full, there are snow covered fields, pine trees, the wind blowing. Long periods of silence, then music, then the familiar. Shadow puppets, fluttering moths, Christmas tree lights and candles. It is one of many journeys, but it is the only one I know now. It reads like a dialogue with lines missing and feels like a triptych.

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    1. The last sentence is a killer and I would love to see it realized…dialogue with lines missing as part of a triptych. How cool would that be to experience?! There’s so much to visualize and think about in this shape of a story that is also a journey and one that the audience can experience too…the lighting, the silence, the shadows, the fluttering wings of moths. Thank you for starting us off!

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  2. If I were to give a solo performance, I would give a performance on the time my dear auntie gifted me a hoodie and left a used tissue inside of one of the pockets.

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    1. The story of a “used tissue” left behind!! I want to see it, and even more, I want to experience the belly laughs I know must be a result of the story especially as told by you in the way only you can tell it. Who else, for example, would come up with the term “dear auntie?” Thank you for diving in and being such a model audience. What will the next sentence be?

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  3. I have two ideas. The story I might do is kind of inspired by *The Man Who Invented Christmas*, where maybe I would try talk to my characters like I do when I write. You once said how I talk about my characters like they’re real people, and it’s true. In my mind, I can converse with them as easily as someone beside me. It might be interesting to see the different personalities come out, but I don’t think I’m a good enough actor for that.
    The other idea would be to tell the story of what goes on during an anxiety spike when things seem quiet on the outside but are incredibly loud on the inside. The warring between logic and fear might be interesting to watch.

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    1. I disagree and think you/we could come up with fun ways of suggesting those personality differences between author and characters. And it would be fun to translate what works so well in movie form in “The Man Who Invented Christmas” (and I hope you enjoyed the story of how “The Christmas Carol” came to be as much as I did) into stage terms. It sounds like a really cool thing to do. And as I mentioned in today’s post the debate within one person between fear and logic also seems to me to scream out for performance.

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      1. I still have to go see “The Man Who Invented Christmas”! That aspect of it is really making me want to see it. When it comes to fear and logic, it feels like a very contemporary issue when you think about it in terms of our political system. How to take an anxiety attack to really big picture. I LOVE the used tissue idea that was posted, especially as someone who tends to drop them like bread crumbs during allergy season.

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      2. I love the connection you make between the personal battle of fear vs. logic and what’s happening on the political landscape. That connection seems to cry out for someone to create a performance around it. And I love the idea of used tissues being dropped like bread crumbs especially because I can’t help but think of Hansel and Gretel now. Definitely seems like a used tissue performance has to be forthcoming.

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  4. My impression of a story in the solo performance form originates from content I’ve seen on YouTube where people take a second or two from every day of their lives for a year and create a chronological video of these moments.They’re usually titled “a second a day for one year” or something like that and are fast paced. It would be interesting to see a solo performance onstage where it would be a string of memories from someone’s life that are important to them. One way I could imagine it is by having the performer stand center stage and things just seem to flash or rush by them, for example: people (parents,siblings, for example) important events, (birthdays, graduations, holidays), etc. These people would interact with the performer using one action, like giving the performer a hug to show some sort of relationship or blowing out a candle to suggest a birthday. Or maybe the performer could take a specific moment of their lives, a difficult journey they had to take, for example, and create “a string of memories”, for lack of a better phrase. I think we did something a little similar to this in Shakespeare in Performance where we took the most important moments in a given act to create a short 3-minute performance and each scene would have to string together to make sense and it was challenging because there was a lot of content to cover but fun because it was all about thinking quickly and choosing the right moments.

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    1. How interesting that you made the connection to YouTube because it’s pretty clear to me that the current uptick in staged solo performances is in some way connected to the same impulse that has folks wanting to make videos of themselves to share with YouTube audiences. And as I mentioned in today’s post, I think the structure you have in mind could lead to some really interesting possibilities especially since you’re looking to challenge the performer to CHOOSE and have FUN. I may have to go back to that three minute exercise now that you remind me of it.

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  5. I feel like a story I’d need to tell would have something to do with sitting down to write. Those first however many minutes of just staring at the document. It’s a mix of anxiety and wonder – trying to figure out if it’ll be a good day or if it’ll be full of mental constipation. Will the people in my head talk or will they turn the other way? Either way, there’s a lot of hair-pulling and sighing in this performance. A lot of clicking and squirming in my seat. Playing with wires and headphones and looking around. On bad days, I’m aware of the silence on the outside, but inside there’s usually this orange, yellow, and red flashing inside my head. Good days, such as today, I’m a fly on the wall, watching the scene play out. I’m nowhere near home today.

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    1. I think it’s so interesting that you want to tell the story about the moment before writing. The moment when you’re not sure if any voices or characters, or even more interesting still, colors, will make themselves known to you. Feels very meta and therefore kind of perfect for performance. And since I happen to know that you’re in the midst of writing under a deadline, and writing a lot, I thank you for taking the time to come up with still another story idea!

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  6. I don’t have a seque to this comment, which in any case is very belated, but I liked the conversation a lot. One thing it made me think about was how much time I spend waiting to see how stories “in the news” will unfold or “turn out” and hoping for a positive or hopeful conclusion. When I learned yesterday (December 22) that six people who had been charged with felony riot during the Trump inauguration and who were facing decades of prison time for exercising their right to protest (or for simply being present while others protested)–when I learned that they had been acquitted by a jury of all charges, well, that was a happy ending. Except, of course, it wasn’t an ending at all since there are something like 200 other people awaiting trial on the same charges and since the effort to silence dissent and the struggle of ordinary people to make their voices heard and have a real say in the decisions that affect their lives will both continue. So despite my longing for happy endings, I know I’m not going to get them. What I can have is the happy knowledge that, despite formidable obstacles, we continue to insist on telling/making our personal and collective stories (I’m sure I’m cribbing Mary here), a knowledge that I find validated by independent news sites like Democracy Now, where I saw an interview with one of the acquitted inauguration protesters, and by this blog and the great conversations it inspires.

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    1. I am so glad you worked Democracy Now into your comment on storytelling because I have been itching to talk about the importance of Amy Goodman as a journalist who works really, really hard to make sure the right and necessary stories are told. She definitely takes seriously the question “what story would you tell?”

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