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Archive for November, 2006

stories

Storytelling should be a by-product of the drama, but it doesn’t have to be its aim.

You might take issue with ‘drama’ – we could say ‘show’ or ‘piece’. This seems a bit contrary, probably, as lots of theatre people suggest that theatre is a storytelling medium. Well that may be – but in a more immediate sense (and also a broader sense) it is a manipulated experience. So what would it be like if it wasn’t a storytelling exercise? People arrive at a venue, come in, some things happen in front of them. This is a question about what theatre needs to include to be ‘theatre’. I’m proposing that ‘it needs a story’ isn’t the answer. What about the story might it be that you need?

I think involvement in some way, probably emotional. I think we can also say that as a sequence of events happens, there is (in some sense) a story unfolding regardless of intention – one between the audience and the performers, or (in a circus, say) the story of each of the performers’ engagement with their activities – their successes and failures. In a sports event this is what you might call the ‘theatre’ of the event.

So what i’m suggesting is that we don’t need to feel that our top priority is to tell stories. If our top priority is to engage poeple in what we’re doing and keep them engaged, we will find stories of all sorts springing up around us like weeds.

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