A show that has been over a year in the making is finally happening. It’s called Drawn Out Storytelling, though I’m constantly trying to get people to abbreviate it to D.O.S. or Drawn Out. This show, which if you’ve spoken to me at all over the past month you will be far too acquainted with the idea of, is a stretching of the storytelling genre into a fully encompassing experience where your visual and auditory senses are bombarded with all of the elements of a story that we can so that it feels like you are there… maybe?
I don’t think that’s the point.
I constantly struggle with the point.
Here’s the evidence:
I moved to NYC and was immediately entranced by the storytelling scene – it was finally that melding of life and art that I had been searching for. Honesty had always been important to me in art, but specifically how to stretch honesty. I then saw that there were people stretching this “honesty” and pushing it further into the boundary of art. There was Mimsy - the experimental improvisation troupe of storytellers. There was the BTK Band - a band that played behind a storyteller with gogo dancers in front.
Then it hit me that one of my best friends is a comic book artist and drawing stories out would be awesome. But it couldn’t just be literal. The art had to bring out a truth that wasn’t able to be brought out through words alone. Then I added music. The music had to stretch that honesty even further. Now I have ideas of adding cooking, science experiments, dance, computer programs, and the list goes on.
Why is mixing media so important to me?
I told you: I constantly struggle with the point. Stop asking me.
Sophomore year of high-school Mr. Schaffer took us outside to the awkwardly placed turnaround on the side of our parking lot. He told us to stand at different points around this almost-road. Some of us were behind bushes. Some behind other cars. Some right on the road. Some inside a building. He then explained how a hypothetical car-accident was happening.
None of us understood how this lesson was supposed to teach us how the truth was a matter of perspective because none of us were listening because we were in high school.
Art can attempt to approach honesty, but by virtue of it being on stage an audience has altered expectations. Therefore we can’t actually provide true honesty. That being said the biggest enemy of honesty in art is genre.
Genre defines more expectations. Genre creates more preconceptions without providing more art. Genre is just what you expect to see, and as an artist I strive constantly to undo the genre I am “participating” in. Mixing mediums of performance defies genre. It demands that as an audience you come in with an open mind. It demands that you approach a show allowing yourself to be influenced.
I really struggle with the point because I think the point is often not the point. The point is so personal. The point is what you take out of it as an audience member – in so many ways it has nothing to do with the creator of that art.