Our stories make us who we are. The ability to pause and look at our life moments as stories make us storytellers. When we perform these stories, they change us in someway. They make us see things that we probably dint quite think about earlier, or if we did, it makes us see the same moment differently.
After our two day workshop (STORYFLECT) on personal narratives, I would like to share with you 5 insights that I picked up and would like to make part of my work. I am very grateful to the participants who willingly shared their life stories and enabled shared discoveries.
1. YOUR STORY IS YOURS YET IT DRAWS ME
Personal stories have ways in which people can magically connect their own lives and circumstances to what you've gone through. This makes your story personal for them too.
2. YOUR STORY COMES FROM YOUR CORE
The core muscle is the body's centre and ensures our stability. Similarly, our stories make up our core, mental and emotional. These moments get etched into our memories, some obvious, some distant. When we encounter them, there is great joy in having discovered something that we thought was lost, but it was always there, waiting to be found.
3. PERSONAL STORIES MAKE YOU A RISK TAKER
You need the guts to be able to tell your story. You've chosen to put yourself out there though your story and this is already empowering.
4. PERFORMING THE PERSONAL ENRICHES THE NARRATIVE
Simple ways of performing a story can enrich the way the audience connect with you and your life. Using the body to perform the story can have significantly higher impact on the performer and the audience.
5. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GETTING PERSONAL
Sometimes I hear people say that they are scared of sharing personal stories or they wonder if it would be relevant. I think there is value in every story, whether it's from a folktale or from your own tale. So, if you find yourself thinking about whether or not you should share your personal story, just stop thinking, go ahead and share it.
The STORYFLECT workshop is scheduled for the 4th of December at Lahe Lahe in Indiranagar. You can register for the workshop on bookmyshow or on our website.
So what does it take to put your personal truths out in public space? You are sharing a story, a mood, a moment - through performance.
We are all made of stories. Stories of various kinds, multiple genres and different moods. In a way, our stories define who we are. The choices we make within our own plot, the characters that we choose to play through time, the different moods that we help create, our value systems, the multiple emotions that we go through - all these end up defining and constructing our personal narratives.
In August 2014 (Bangalore), I was in a workshop with 4 people- a theatre actor, a psychologist, a behavioral trainer and a nuero linguistic practitioner. I was already beginning to feel like we had a performance there. It Just sounded quite cool. Through the 2 day workshop where we worked on body, gesture, space, memory and audience relationships, we had created about 30 seconds of material per person - a combination of expressive gesture, sounds, movement and text.
The question for me was: How can these fragments come together in performance? For a while now, I've been very interested in exploring personal narratives through visual performance. Additionally, I also explored the idea of immersion in personal stories. The idea of an audience not just watching the story but being drawn into the environment in various ways.
With the material generated at the workshop becoming the starting point for further devising, we started further exploration. Combining chance happenings, associations, spoken word and free writing, we started generating more performance material. At this point in time, I honestly had no clue what the performance would be about. I had a guideline, a process that I trusted and four committed performer/devisers.
Through the initial devising sessions, we focused our energies on creating visuals, both static and dynamic and was using these visual cues to generate performance context. We would then quickly take notes about what the visual is communicating and see if we could further build on it in any way possible. In two weeks time, we had a very clear direction of where the piece was heading. We were working with concepts of challenge, hope, love, violence and romance. The stories emerged. The stories of four different women experiencing struggle & strength, hope & despair and detachment & obsession.
What would you do when you are alone and attacked?
How can you move on after a testing relationship?
Are you now in a position to stand up to what's going on? Do you have a voice?
How can your hope and faith build you up, after you crumble?
A moment of memory captures and brings to life these four moments through performance. We've designed this in an experiential way, through touch, taste, sight, sound and smell - by engaging the multiple senses.
We invite you to come experience these stories and share a moment with us.
In this blog space, we talk about performance processes, interdisciplinary practices and various ways of creating performance and engaging audiences.