Report by Jonathan Swain

Spontaneous story telling in public or on stage. Stand-up without a script, but with some sort of audience for input and response. Showing off to actual people rather than a camera. Is this what theatre world calls Improv?

Where to develop it, practice, a safe space, warm space? An intimate audience. A groups of friends? Joanne suggests improvised story-telling circles, they used to be popular in Leeds but could be arranged on zoom or in the locality. Similar to journal groups. Improvising stories in the manner of the game of Consequences.

Is there a way of recording it that is similarly quick, uncomplicated, uncluttered but that still gives a professional feel.

Two camera shoots, so that the speaker doesn’t know where to look.

Add in an (unconnected) musical background to give it rhythm (or not). Another stimulus.

Open mic sessions seem to be about comedy. This is more story telling, more arty, more pretentious, not particularly funny. Visit a few open mics, they each have different textures and audiences.

A few projected slides (powerpoint) as simple stimulus and visuals. Time keeping.

Everything I’m doing at the moment seems to be so overwrought. For my health I need to break that. The element of unpredictability and silliness. Put the Fear back. Excite.

Stories come out different each time, they can start at different points, involve or centre on different characters. Small, three person audiences. Stand and move around whilst telling. Cant remember a written script. Doesn’t feel comfy or stimulating speaking directly into a camera.

Carla suggests five staging points, beats to hit, they could be slides, as time controllers, ways of moving the stories on and not boring people. These could be changes of lighting states, or an alarm from a discreet phone. Single improv, combined with others to create a ministry of unplanned occurrences.

Thank-you to everybody I spoke to about this over the weekend and to the non-talking silence group who I latched on to with great outcome.