Thursday, 1 October 2009

Ars Collaboratorium Improvisorium

I have recently been involved in a courageous "live" online exercise in improvised collaborative story-telling instigated by Chris Adams from Bits'n'Bobs/Show'n'Tell I first came across this particularly fascinating and delightful blog when "popps" first popped up in one of my comments' boxes with a comment. I was intrigued and as one does, I visited the profile page and then had a look at the blog. What struck me immediately was the fact that this blog was different, out of the ordinary and very honestly written. From the heart. I began to follow the posts and so began an online dialogue which has developed over the past few months.

Rising to the Challenge
Vicki in America, Anne in Germany, Dave in Ireland and myself in Italy took part in the 7-Day Improvisation Challenge. We suggested various challenges, some far more complicated than others! One of the biggest challenges for Chris in France was when he invited his readers to feed him lines to incorporate into the story which would be written "live" and totally improvised on Day 6. Please read how it all evolved imaginatively here. I thought Chris as the principal omniscient narrator, rose to this difficult goal admirably. The story is multi-faceted, certainly far-fetched, at times amusing, in some parts risque, in other parts, madcap, overall cohesive (apart from one tiny little bit, which I think stands out because it doesn't somehow "go with the flow" - you'll have to read it and find out for yourself) and in the reflective finale, rather poignant.

This for me was something which echoed through my brain long after the story had come to its conclusion at 9am Central Eastern European Time. The feline element in the guise of Victoria had been subtly introduced (by myself) and then successfully disposed of (by I think Chris). This cat had played a major part in the enfolding high drama in the boardroom... The writing had flowed and creativity was taken to new heights with the inclusion of this strange-sounding word. If you are asking yourself "what on earth does MOGification mean?", well, I have an idea. It must be a neologism(unless I stand corrected), created especially for dramatic effect so in this case, it must be something to do with the process of being changed into a cat?? That is my guess, anyway.

Writing ad hoc was not an easy thing to achieve and of course, not knowing when sections of the story was going to be included in different countries, was quite tricky, but despite this, I think the idea was an ingenious one and from a participant's point of view, I felt it was a challenging and imaginative creative writing activity and it worked, despite Chris' misgivings. As an experiment, it was innovative and daringly courageous. It could have been disastrous but in my view, it wasn't at all. It probably pushed Chris to the limits of his improvisation skills but he managed it skillfully, whatever he may say and think to the contrary. Bravo! Bravissimo!

I recommend you have a look at Bits'n'Bobs/Show and Tell blog. It's a good'un!


popps said...

Thanks Janet, wow,nice thoughts.
I think you and me had the most successful interaction during the experiment in that it was the only time really, i think, that the contribution and response were synchronized more or less.
i.e you did something i did something, give and take.
Time lag hit after that.
I feel the bit that didn't fit was towards the end when i introduce the "i've read your blog bit" - i was thinking should i finish this, how can i introduce links to past posts and all in all a bit artificial as opposed to spontaneous.
Is this what you saw?
I don't transmogified is my invention, it is in my brain somewhere from an old radio show, or William book, or early British T.v.
i guess we should try again one day - maybe once a month?
ps it was good the way you picked up and introduced the cat - which is sitting on my shoulder as i write - i had introduced the photos just to mark the passing time and you made more of it, great.

Janet Bianchini said...

The bit I think didn't fit was when Jack hangs out the washing..goes to look if the Walnuts are ready and then goes off. He mysteriously reappears later in the dialogue. All a bit surreal.

Great fun, though!

popps said...

ah, that was meant to be a joke - i had been waiting for someone to post something, nothing happened so, I, went off and did all those things and came back .
tried to let everyone know where i had been.
And hence the water bottle on the table - i was thirsty after the bike ride!

Vicki said...

Lovely posting Janet.
I thought that was what you had been doing Chris! Ha!
I'm just so glad to have been part of it and hope that you both never stop exploring and urging us on.

Janet Bianchini said...

Thanks, Vicki. It would be great to collaborate again in some way.