StoryBox is a new stage for interactive performances where audience participants join inter-actors as co-creators of improvised stories. (Like Star Trek’s Holodeck, except the other characters are live.)
Look, when audience participants step up on a traditional stage and become the lead character in an improvised story, they get weird. Their voices get higher. Their bodies become wooden and stiff. They start trying to be “funny” or “entertaining” with minimal success. It’s a disaster.
According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Does that sound right? This means, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
― Jerry Seinfeld
The single greatest challenge of interactive performance is getting participants past their fear. Performing in front of a group of strangers without any preparation is stressful enough for trained performers; imagine how hard it must be for untrained audience participants.
StoryBox solves this problem in a surprising way, based on an old axiom that my grandma used to tell me: “Out of sight, out of mind.”
You see, StoryBox places participants in a space that is separate from the audience, and suddenly they start playing like pros. Why? Because now they can’t see or hear the audience. They’re not worried about all those people looking at them, what they might be thinking, or why they all just laughed.
Instead participants are surrounded by a cast of professional inter-actors who know exactly how to make participants feel supported, empowered, challenged, and ultimately triumphant in their improvised story experience.
And StoryBox does more than separate participants from the audience. It also uses “implicative technologies” to leverage the imagination and fuel the participants’ innate (and intuitive) ability to play.
What about the audience? Are they left out of the loop? Absolutely not. The audience experiences the participant’s story in a separate room through the StoryBox video feed. The curious thing the setup is this: Even though participants know that the audience can see and hear them, they don’t get freaked out the way they would if they could actually see the audience. Out of sight, out of mind.
So there you go, a new kind of stage for a new kind of performance. Is it still kind of hard to wrap your head around? You’re not alone. The best way to understand StoryBox is to see it in action. Below is a video that may give you a better idea of what the StoryBox is like. If you’re even more interested, email me to find out the next time StoryBox is in action.