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{ events by the fray organization }
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Fray Day 8
October - December, 2004
The fray organization is devoted to the art of the personal story. We hold events where real people tell true stories in real time. And you're invited. Previously
Fray Cafe Austin 4
14 March 2004
Austin, TX
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Fray Day 7 Houston: What Stories to Tell?
Posted by Robert on Tuesday 16 September 03 @ 11:05AM

Some have wondered what kind of storytelling works well for Fray Day? Fray has some helpful performance guidelines. Read on for some other idle thoughts....

First, you are free to speak from a text, but the informal nature of the event might make it easier to just speak from memory. At Fray Cafe in Austin, I think 80% of storytellers used no text to read from.

Second, we will have a microphone, (although not a stage or platform--Hmm, I'll have to think about that). The facility will accomodate about 70 people, but it's a pretty small locale with some people sitting at tables, some on couches, etc. In contrast to past Fray events, Nexus Cafe will be open only for the Fray event, so chances are, you'll get the complete undivided attention of your audience.

Third, the majority of people at the event will probably be young hip adults, so you can expect a certain tolerance for all kinds of stories. (With that said, I am desperately looking for storytellers who lie outside the hipster demographic ).

Fourth, humorous stories tend to work well in this kind of environment, although there must be a direction to it. You can actually listen to past Fray event stories if you want, to get a feel for what tends to go over well.

Fifth, to reiterate the guidelines, these stories must be true. This is not the only kind of storytelling, but that's what Fray is. Of course, we can bicker about subjectivity and what truth really is and whether first person narrators are reliable, but please try to ground the story in a real event and use first person.

Sixth, from an audience's point of view, be tolerant and patient. Not every story you hear will appeal to you, but remember that it takes courage to come forward in public to do this. The purpose of this event is not to expose you to great theatrical or literary masterpieces (although that would be a nice side effect). The purpose is to reveal the variety of stories around you and to empower those who want to share them.

In modern urban environments, there are surprisingly few contexts to share personal narratives; instead we go to the video store and rent the latest Terminator movie or we sit down at concerts or in church pews or at restaurants. That is unnatural; humans are storytelling beasts by nature. We have a knack for telling stories in one form or another (even if it is about a bad boss, a date from hell, or a terrifying event).

This event was founded precisely to bring us back to the oral traditions that guided people for centuries. For example, a hundred years ago today in Houston, people didn't have radios or TV's to be entertained. They entertained themselves. So sit back, listen and then think about what stories of your own life you have to share, not only at events like this, but at family gatherings, dinners and dates.

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