Directed Story. Story Orchestra. Story Story.
Let’s get four or five players in a line and create a story.
The line of players are tasked with telling a story together. The leader will pick one player to start the story. As long as they are being pointed at (conducted) the player will continue to tell the story. Without warning the leader will switch to another player and that player will seamlessly pick up the story.
The goal of the exercise is to have the players seamlessly continue to tell the story. If the conductor moves from one player to another mid sentence the player will pick up mid sentence. If the conductor moves from player to player mid word the player will pick up mid word. If it is working the exercise will sound like one person telling a story.
For example, player Eh could be mid-word, “many children were afraid of Carl for he was known to ha-” Player Bee, would pick up the story mid-word “-ve piles of library books that were overdue.” This should sound like “many children were afraid of Carl for he was known to ha-ve many piles of library books that were overdue.”
The leader can add complications to the structure by endowing the story with emotions, genres or occupations.
The exercise works best when all the players are listening. By listening to the words the player can have the next word or part of a word in their head ready to jump into their mouth. Not listening stands out acutely. A player who is not listening will radically change the story and mess up the narrative.
The players must accept the offers that have gone before. The existing narrative is the offer that the next player gets to work with. Changing the narrative radically could be a listening problem or an accepting problem. The players must exercise a state of perpetual acceptance of the offers coming from the player speaking.
No one player is in control of the story. Accepting that the story will change is accepting the narrative that has gone before. Trying to pressure a story “back on course” is a complicated denial.
In simplest terms the player must trust their instinct and go where their ideas take them without pause.
Don’t explode the story. Small incremental steps of expansion or advancing works best. Offer suffocation is where too many offers spoil the narrative by making it impossible to follow. Look to what has gone before and add to it.
This is a narrative exercise. The conducted story needs a setting, and ties. It must have something to explore and propel.
- Leave the conduction on one player for a long time.
- Quickly move from player to player
- Gibberish – Seamless gibberish is a real thing.
- Back Story – Conductor is behind the players touching their backs without warning.
- Word At A Time – each player contributes only one word at a time.
- Die Game – competitive version where players who slip or pause are ejected from the line.