Michael Haneke is one of my favourite film directors. His film, The White Ribbon would be in my top ten films – if I had such a list. It opens with a voice-over by an elderly-sounding narrator:
I do not know if the story I want to tell you is entirely true. Some of it, I know only by hearsay. After so many years, a lot of it is still obscure, and many questions remain unanswered.
As the film unfolds, and indeed, ends, the strange events that are acted and narrated are left unexplained. The audience is left to draw its own conclusions, if they are able.
If I say that everything I write is “utterly untrue,” I would be lying. According to one of the characters in my Phone-Box Tales, writing poetry is ‘a process, a craft, a sculpting of language.’ And it certainly isn’t auto-biographical, even though much poetry uses a 1st-person perspective, or a “persona.”
The same can be said for fiction. Writers cannot simply rely on undiluted imagination, romantic inspiration or plain perspiration. Instead, they beg, steal or burrow ideas; transpose, translate and transform them into lies that tell the reader, performer, or listener about the truth. Therefore, when I say that all my Phone-Box Tales are based on my own experiences, observations, overheard conversations, stolen snippets and scavenged stories; this is the truth. But the result?
Let others judge. Not with opinions, criticism, scepticism or malicious vitriol. Nor with that ridiculous star-rating that seems to plague reviewers and performers alike: at the Edinburgh Fringe, anything less than ★★★★ is hardly worth the cost of a staple to attach a scrap of paper to a flyer. But let the audience, when they hear my writing performed, decide how it moves them. Is what they hear believable, if not entirely credible? Does it generate laughter, anger, disgust, or guilty pleasure?
Hopefully, it will leave them with more unanswered questions. Such as: who reviewed this show as: ‘Utterly untrue’- ★★★★★ in firstname.lastname@example.org ? Well, me, of course, just now. I challenge my audience to award stars according to their conscience. Meanwhile, I must go and buy some staples.
Not suitable for children.Nor adults, really.
Venue 71, No. 4, Picardy Place, aka ‘The Fiddler’s Elbow,’ somewhere between Greenside Place and Broughton St.