Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Freedom at last and the nature of memory

Yesterday during Two Men Talking I experienced Freedom!! We have now performed 18 times. And though we have permission (our own, who else's) to keep changing the stories, to have no particular order or script, it had started to happen that we were telling stories in a particular order. I was starting to feel like I was in a play, and even had moments of boredom at my own stories. And then yesterday, nothing was as ever before. It truly felt as though we were telling stories from our lives to a group of people in our living room. We had fun, we got lost and I even sang songs that I never dreamed I'd sing in public...I went on a bit, till Murray said to me "Paul this is TWO men talking". I had real embarrassment. We had real laughter and it was energizing and stimulating of memories. What I have realized is that the rigor of eighteen days in a row, has given the foundation of safety in basic storytelling to an audience. I have the confidence to know that I can tell a personal story to an audience, using my body, voice while moving around the space, and making contact with the audience and with Murray...After eighteen performances, I also know that Murray and I can co-create a story. We have proven that to ourselves over and over again. So with a music analogy, we have been practicing scales, and now we are allowing ourselves to play jazz....As for the nature of memory. I have told these stories so many times that I cannot anymore remember the original incident. I now remember the telling of the incident. I think. I also have the sensation of "remembering" Murray's history. I wasn't there, but if you ask me, I can't quite tell the difference between my own "memories" and my "memories" of Murray's stories. The only difference is that my conscious mind knows that I was not present for his so they are not true memories. History is re-written through storying. For example, my early years at King David High School were lonely. But having excavated that history so deeply together with Murray, though in reality we were not friends then, my experience of my history has shifted, such that I know feel as if I had a comrade, a friend....such is the power of story.


Blogger Sandra said...

I happened upon your show last week and just loved it. I had little idea what I was going to see and during it kept wondering if it was scripted or not. It seemed not, your stories were so real, personal and intimate that I really felt that I was sharing part of your lives and left feeling I wanted to share more. I was deeply moved too and have tried unsuccessfully to tell others about what I experienced. It wasn't so much the stories you told but the way that you told them that will stay with me.

5:16 AM  
Blogger C. Frey said...

Hi! This was an impressive and moving show. Since we saw it, we're discussing: is that theater? What defines theater as theater? And what is the difference to a psycho-talking group?

4:03 PM  
Blogger William Armour said...

Dear Murray and Paul

Just a note to say how much I enjoyed your show. You were really relaxed and worked well together. The stories flowed and generated my curiosity and interest. You made it look so simple yet it was also obvious a lot of work had gone into the preparation. I was very impressed by the way you got all your theraputic messages across like the futility of guilt, how posture affects how we feel and how honesty and authenticity reduce the stress within us. You truly did demonstrate the power of storytelling and for that I thank you. The most poignant message for me was the power of forgiveness. When you asked for forgiveness for the mistreatment of your friend at school and that forgiveness was granted in such an honest manner that was a very powerful moment for me. Tears welled in my eyes and I was shocked that I had been so moved. I am feeling you may have had a similar response when that forgiveness was originally granted. Thank you for making me aware of forgiveness issues I need to address. I am sure all of your audience members will have taken away your messages consciously or not and I'm sure they will benefit from them. For this reason (as well as entertainment value) I hope you never tire of telling your stories and doing your bit to make this world a better place. Congratulations on a wonderful piece of theatre. William.

6:24 PM  
Blogger scott morfee said...

what defines theatre? the audience.

1:47 PM  

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