For example, when we coach writers at Spark Off Rose (the spoken word series I help produce in Santa Monica), we often encourage our storytellers to be *less presentational* and *more conversational*. We have found that--when it comes to reading personal essays--the writers need to trust their words on the page and simply share them with the audience, as if we're in the intimacy of someone's living room. For this reason, we're less interested in the storytellers *performing* their pieces since this tends to impose an inauthentic quality to the reading. It feels like the author is commenting on the material, and as a result, this can often alienate and distance the audience. (Keep in mind... being on stage still requires stage presence!)
In this video, Beth Lapides explains the difference between doing stand-up comedy, performing a one-person show, and reading a personal essay. She underlines the importance of considering what your listeners, or readers in other cases, expect... in other words, it's about honoring the *contract* you have with the audience.
At Spark, the audience expects to be drawn into the raw vulnerability of a personal story that lives in the words... and in the person speaking them.
SOS ~ kg