Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Synergy of Story and Storyteller

Frans Hals, Jester with a Lute

One of my favorite screenwriting bloggers, Scott Myers is writing a series on the famous "Katzenberg Memo," now 21 years-old this month.  (Read the entire memo along with some history here.) Today he tackles the section entitled "Stories That Make Us Care."  Writes Katzenberg:
It is the story that people remember. It is the story that gives the movie business its extraordinary power to impact the world.

Part of what makes a story work is mystical. Its originality, its theme, its characters, its dialogue — all these are undefinable ingredients that contribute to the alchemy of a successful story.

But, given this, there are still some overall guidelines of key importance in telling a good story. Most important of these is the need to create one or more central characters who confront something elemental about themselves by the end of the film. This sounds much more cerebral than it is.
As previously opined on this here blog, I believe that in small theatre the personality of the storyteller is just as important as the story being told.

Which leads me to a new thought:  Small theatre is an extension of the bardic tradition:
More influential than even the poetry, however, were the great storytellers and musicians that passed on legends and histories from tribe to tribe. Enigmatic entertainers, these sages communicated carefully constructed tales through lyrics and rhyme without cultural prejudice or politics. Wearing the colors of all lands, but under the thumb of none, these men of strong voice and heart became known as the bards.
Epic poetry can't recite itself.

It raises some interesting thoughts and possible directions.  It coincides perfectly with the idea of bespoke theatre and a rebellion against assembly-line theatre.  It hints at a way to create a true sense of community in the theatre without resorting to shallow antics.  I need to stew on this a bit more ...

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