The Bond Between our Self and Stories: At some point in our childhood we begin to wonder if worlds exist beyond our own. Whether it be through a dream, storybook, or motion picture we are presented fantastic tales and left to determine whether or not the characters, events, and places within them are real or simply just, ‘make believe’. The imagination is free to engage with virtually no rules, and though we may become captivated by those tales, the physical, sensorial relationship that so beautifully completes the human experience is somewhat absent in the bond we share with them.
Mediums of Storytelling: Throughout time a series of mediums have arisen, which serve as windows into foreign and exciting dimensions communicated through symbol and story. Among these mediums are poems, photographs, songs, novels, theatre, motion pictures, rides (Disneyland & Universal Studios), escape rooms. It is not until the age of motion pictures that the other, more elder mediums just mentioned, began to be used in collaboration with one another to achieve unprecedented possibilities.
The Window and the Door: I wish to embellish these mediums of storytelling by proposing a new form. You see, over a decade ago I was enjoying my time at a theatre watching, of all stories, “Harry Potter,” when some unsettling thought came over me. I thought to myself how much I loved this story, and the world in which it conveyed. Suddenly, a little child-like voice inside me whispered, “This movie displays a window to another world—where is the door?” This voice both saddened and inspired me. I wanted to visit this world, not just in my mind, not through a book, and not through a movie. I wished deeply to cross over—to live within it. And so I set out to make manifest this noble feat—the theme of my life’s work was seeded—I shall create the door.
The Senses: I pondered a great deal about the idea of finding this doorway into other worlds and became drawn to the actor/actress on stage. I meditated on the quote, “All the world’s a stage,” from William Shakespeare’s, As You Like It, and it granted me insight. We have our imagination, which is our link to the spirit world, and then we have our reality, the physical world. We experience the physical world with our senses—seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, touching. On a lighter harmonic we have our higher senses—we can all imagine seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and touching whatever we wish just by the mere thought of it. This, I feel, is one vital key to understanding how to manifest a story into a life experience. In order to live a story, we must become a character within it and physically experience it first hand.
Powers of Acting: Again I thought back to the actor/actress and was in awe at what amazing power they wield. In ‘real life’, a person is somewhat subject to the whim of the emotions and thought-spirits that frequent them. We are often reactive to our environment, the people around us, and the sequence of events that make up our day. Of course this is not always true. There are times where we are driven so deeply by our imagination that despite competing emotions and thought-spirits that do not serve our best interest, we summon the ones that do. By so doing we are embracing our role as a character in the living play. This grants us the ability to transmute reactivity into creativity. The actor/actress is master of the emotion and thought-spirits they attract. They train themselves to find the will within to manifest what they feel to be in harmony with their character’s persona. This may be accomplished by embracing the present moment in order to become the character, thereby drawing upon our inner creative magic. It is in this way that the actor/actress is a spell castor of their emotions, thought-spirits, gesture, and overall demeanor—elaborating an enchanting charm to captivate their audience. And so the performing artist must remain in this new medium of storytelling that I propose for they are, and will always be, the vital elemental power.
Discovering the Door: If all the world’s a stage, then we are all the characters playing our role in the story of our lives. That is all well and fine, but I ask you—where is the door to the worlds conveyed through story? Let us turn our attention to another ingredient that may lend some insight into accomplishing this peculiar objective—the festival. I imagine you have experienced a few music and art festivals in your day. They, like the motion pictures, focus widely on stimulating the senses of sight and sound. It may very well be that we are permitted to witness a burst of that creativite magic (mentioned in the paragraph above) when attending these grand occasions, especially when participating in one’s like Burning Man. These festivals hold yet another vital key to the new medium of storytelling. Though not completely, they begin to dissolve the once solid line separating audience from performer. At the festival, especially one’s similar to Burning Man, all participants have an opportunity to be both the audience and the performer, allowing us what is currently the closest experience to entering through that mystical door into the Living Play. These festivals, though highly interactive, lack the beautiful structure provided by novels, songs, poems, theatre, and the motion pictures. Perhaps with these thoughts in mind, we may begin to conceptualize a new, embellished medium for storytelling.
A Living Play: Imagine a place where many performing artists of all types gather to participate in playing a role for a collective Living Story. There are writers and scripts, but significant room for improvisation. Those interactive murder mystery dinner parties come to mind. They provide a dash of control while also granting fair wiggle room for extemporaneous deliverance. There are no ‘take twos’ for the moment we enter, we become a character in the play that is, from beginning to end, in action. All are performers and all are the audience. While motion pictures may somehow still be involved, our dependence on the restricting screen has disappeared. We are free to see in three dimensions without the need for special glasses. We may take part in tasting the meals, smell the fragrance of the scene, listen to true organic surround sound, and physically engage with the other actors and props. It may even involve playing in some sort of elaborate game and bear the spirit of renaissance. By doing so, all participants now have the opportunity to live and experience the story as well as observe it. I am aware this proposal is vague to say the least, for there are many ways in which this may be made manifest. I predict that its creation shall be by the efforts of many. This new medium of storytelling, just like our beloved motion pictures, offers unprecedented possibilities for writers, actors/actresses, similar performing artists, set designers, directors, and others alike. It is the door that the voice was urging me to seek all of those years ago. By crossing over, we may more appropriately live out our dreams and ideas, inspiring the next age of collective creativity and imagination.
The First Living Play: Some time ago, I began to write, The Spyron’s Concept. My present intention is to have this story expressed through the medium of the Living Play briefly noted above. In time, perhaps many other stories will follow suit...
Written in 2014 when pondering the future of storytelling.