“So now you have a dozen possibilities for the theme in Rapunzel’s narrative. Which one will you choose to show, or in the case of storytelling – tell?” To help G here, I explained the idea behind ‘witness’. You can find my full definition here.
The witness (listener) is part of what makes up the entire storytelling event through validation and influence.
Storytelling evolved out of the need to communicate something beyond the obvious to someone besides yourself.
On a deeper level, the utterance (story) holds the possibility of witnessing too.
We created three columns representing possible reactions to his sketches by others:
1 – Yes, I see that too
2 – Not sure, doesn’t move me
3 – What? Where do you see that?!
G sorted the sketches into those columns.
“If you tell people something they see exactly like you, what will be the outcome?” “Maybe they’ll like me. I’ll probably receive smiles, nods, approval. However, the level of engagement will not be too high. When everybody agrees, it’s not very interesting and they don’t need me for that.”
“What about telling them a ‘doesn’t move me’ story?” G looked at me as in “are you serious?” No, it’s probably not such a great idea…
“So we are left with the ‘what?!’ group. What do you think about telling something like this?” I asked. G said, “Well, although not very convenient, this might be the only way to really, deeply engage someone. You said ‘validation and influence’. Validation alone is in the first possibility. Here we get influence too and it will have to be beyond the obvious, a form of dialogue I suppose. It might even get the utterance curious…”
Six pieces G made were in column three. “Which one will it be?” I asked him. He looked at them closely, shifting aside those he was not sure about. “How are you selecting them? What are you looking for?” I added. “I’m testing them to see if I want to posses them, keep them with me. That’s the one.” “Interesting, I could feel I want to steal it,” I added. “So I’ll make one for you, I’ll cast it in bronze,” he said and immediately prepared a copy for casting.
The selected piece is archetypal; No wonder it moved both of us. The other pieces though are important too. Remember audiences are different, they can’t necessarily validate and influence to the same level. Some need the theme to be more evident, or more obvious in certain details than others do; you want to be able to work with the same theme and plot in several ways, so people feel they can take part and co-create the event with you.
Next Is it a good tale?