In case you missed it on the first page, we are an evening of storytelling and comedy, based in Edinburgh but with a suitcase ready to travel. Although this is where most of our basic details live, feel free to email electrictales @ me.com for more information. Or cyber-hugs. We also deal in them.
We’re very grateful for support from Creative Scotland in setting up Electric Tales.
(Actually, it was the Scottish Arts Council back then but they’re still nice.)
Find out more about our ‘no reading’ policy here in a blog post from Sian.
We recently put on at night at The Stand Comedy Club, which was very fun indeed. Storyteller James Spence came along and wrote down his thoughts on the event…
Electric Tales – The Stand – Tuesday 21 September 2010
Storytellers were Fiona Herbert, Alisdair Taylor and Donald Nelson. Comedians were Bruce Morton, Sian Bevan and Vladamir McTavish [who is actually Paul Snedden]. Compered by Susan Morrison.
From a storytellers point of view this is a wonderful opportunity to develop their skills of storymaking, to present this material in a different way to an audience with different expectations. For a storyteller to have an exclusively adult audience is refreshing, in that we’re all adults here, so there is a freedom of subject matter and how you may choose to express such material.
Let me tell you how it is for a budding comedian. If you want to give it a bash on stage at the Stand, you apply and go on a 6 month waiting list to do 5 minutes at the weekly Red Raw night. Having done that you will have to go through the same process again in the hope that you get noticed and get invited to do 10 minutes the next time. There are a thousand people currently trying to go through this process.
Us storytellers have have been fortunate enough to have been involved with Electric Tales, are invited to do 15 minutes of comedy at a premier comedy venue [in my case it was the Arches Theatre at last year’s Glasgow Comedy Festival] along side some of Scotland’s best comedians. Last night’s line-up certainly was some of the country’s best comedians, including the legendary and surreal Bruce Morton. I used to watch him on TV in the 1980’s.
The thing that’s different of course in a comedy venue is that the audience are expecting to laugh. Many of us storytellers panic at that sort of expectation, but I now recognise the advantages. Because the audience has this expectation you are half way there as soon as you’ve stepped on to the stage. You can say something in a dead-pan sort of way and people will automatically laugh because of the juxtaposition to what they were expecting. Any decent storyteller will tell differently to different audiences, adapting to different
audience reactions, altering timing and tone amongst other things. So
actually it is a great thrill to have this expectation from the audience.
The storymaking is also a thrill. To take funny incidents from your life, to weave them with funnier bits you thought of afterwards, to weave truth and lies, to lead your audience down the garden path, to mess with people’s expectations, is great fun, just a huge game you get to play with your audience, all in the name of comedy. To write something you are sure will work, then to present it before a live audience a couple of days later is just a huge thrill.
Of course comedy and storytelling are such close bed-fellows. Storytellers honing their skills over the years are not so far away from the comedians honing their skills, which is why the storytellers who are comfortable projecting to larger audiences can make that leap so successfully.
On Monday night people said that they didn’t know who were the comedians and who were the storytellers. We’ve heard this comment throughout the life of Electric Tales.
I found the storytellers remarkably composed and at ease on stage, and must be congratulated for their poise and grasping this new nettle. They were not out of place with the comedians. I’m sure they all had their nerves, but it didn’t show. Fiona even managed to alter the mike in a composed manner [mikes are a complete mystery to storytellers and they want nothing to do with them, they’re not to be trusted and can create a barrier]. All of the storytellers got
laughs, were engaging, entertaining and very assured.
The comedians must be getting a lot out of it also, judging by the top names that were drawn to get involved last night. I’m sure that they find freedom in storytelling without the pressure to constantly make funnies.
I hope the storytellers involved last night are delighted and inspired by their experience, as I was with my involvement with Electric Tales. I have continued with comedy and am aware that my comedy has brought greater vibrancy to my storytelling. I sincerely hope that Electric Tales continues, grows and thrives. The difficulty now for the storytellers involved is creating regular opportunities to present their comedy.
Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for our exciting future projects, which will blow your tiny minds. Not that your minds are tiny. Just in comparison to Phil the Robot. He’s well brainy.