Tonight was the first of hopefully many evenings of playing improvisations with a group of people interested in the form. What is the form? We decided to ask Laen to lead us through some sense of what Playback Theatre is – where a person in the audience tells a story, one person asks for precision in the story, highlights the essential pieces of information and why the story is being told. Four people listen to the story, one is chosen by the storyteller to be the embodiment of that person, while the others can represent aspects, metaphors, feelings, objects of the story. The four playback the story, striving to represent the essence of the experience. The narrative details are only one part of the information received and the four do not discuss. They initiate or propose and the others join in or counter propose.

There were other exercises leading up to the telling of the long story which offered opportunities to interpret smaller amounts of content, interpret someone’s feelings and give us the chance to work off of other people’s proposals.
My response to this is that there were moments that were intriguing, I ran at too high a pitch, I am worried that I may have over worked my body and brain… I wish I could maintain my integrity as a performer within my own physical limitations rather than trying to push too hard. It feels a little over wrought and I worry that the stress I put into my interpretation of things says more about me and less about the things I want to convey.
Metaphor – How to get from the literal telling of the story into a poetic moment -through movement. I remember the work we did with Lin Snelling and Guy Cools. It flowed because there where distinct roles for all of the players, there was a direct connection to the physical space of the improvisation and there was also the space of the imagination and impulse.
This play back stuff still feels too heady. My body wants to ground in the space and voice, then see where things flow. Holding the story feels like interference rather than substance.