Personal narratives performed by a theater group can be a surprisingly powerful experience. Last weekend I attended the Petaluma Readers Theatre’s presentation of selected stories from Tiny Lights Journal. This new collaboration of Susan Bono, editor and founder of Tiny Lights, is a treat for anyone who loves memoir and live performance.
Organized around the theme of “Defining Moments,” each one of the ten personal stories featured a life-changing experience or insight. Dramatic in nature, the narratives were further enhanced by the interpretive and acting skills of the ensemble of readers. Directed by Jennifer March, five readers took the stage in all black; moved in and out of stories, sometimes with all five or one or two in various combinations, to create dialogue, a shift in tone, or a synergy of emotion.
Adding to the ambiance was the studio setting of Murray Rockowitz, photographer. Off the main street in downtown Petaluma and up a wooden staircase, it provided the quiet, intimate space for a minimalist performance. There the simplicity of voice and memoir, the literature of personal experience, was immediate and touching.
I applaud the partnership and vision of Susan Bono’s Tiny Lights with the Petaluma Readers Theatre in producing this series. If you missed last weekend and are in the North Bay, you can still purchase tickets for upcoming performances: July 5, 6, 7 at 8:00 pm at 128 Petaluma Blvd North. Just click HERE.
The winning mix of memoir and readers theater makes me think that there is a modern need to hear story, up close and personal—a human sharing of life experience told well.
My only suggestion would be to post the stories on the Tiny Lights website or as an eBook so that the audience can read the collection of “Defining Moments” memoirs post-production.
~Posted by Kate Farrell