Note: See the program of events. Then read below for insights.
[Untitled Final Friday this month] will remind you why being a human is okay (and interesting and terrible and complicated and funny).
This month’s Untitled Creative Takeover will be designed by local storytelling group and podcast producers The Narrators! Expect an evening filled with live performances, interactive experiences, walking tours, and more—all centered on the art of true narrative. There are a few weeks left to gather your tales, but in the meantime, let’s learn a little bit more about The Narrators with a quick Q&A.
DAM: Hello there! Thanks for joining us!
The Narrators: Thank you for having us! Hey, before we get started, do you think we should tell the readers that this interview didn’t really happen face-to-face? We received these questions via email but it seems like we’re having a real conversation.
DAM: Do you think that’s necessary?
TN: Well, The Narrators is all about true stories, so yeah, the truth is kind of our thing. Also, can we explain that there are three people writing these answers as if we’re just one person?
DAM: Sure, we can tell them, but I think you just did? Do you mind if we stick with this format? It’ll make the interview a little more interesting.
TN: Works for us. We love narrative devices. Let’s do it!
Our events are all about the people willing to share their stories, the people willing to listen, and the moment created between them.
DAM: Great. Let’s start things off with some introductions—what do you do and why do you do it?
The Narrators is a live true storytelling event and podcast produced in Denver by Ron Doyle, Erin Rollman, and Sydney Crain. Our monthly live show has been around for almost eight years here in Denver and we have a sister show in San Diego. We do it because we love it and because it gives us a chance to briefly escape into someone else’s humanity.
DAM: That sounds pretty great. After eight years on stage with a microphone, do you ever dream about expressing yourself in a different medium?
TN: Well, when any amount of people are standing around near each other, don’t they always just wish they were a band?
DAM: I know I certainly do! Let’s get to the event—The Narrators is designing February’s Untitled Final Friday event as part of our “Creative Takeover” series. What does being a “creative” mean to you?
TN: That’s tricky! The Narrators is not about any specific individual or about creativity in the traditional sense. The three of us in Denver (Sydney, Erin, and Ron) and our two partners who produce our show in San Diego (Robert Rutherford and Mary Robertson) are not The Narrators. We are not the star attractions and we do not “create” the show; we simply organize the events and provide a space where people can gather. Our events are all about the people willing to share their stories, the people willing to listen, and the moment created between them. We don’t screen, edit, or coach our storytellers beforehand—we believe every person inherently has a story to tell and should be allowed to tell it their own way—and sometimes that has nothing to do with creativity.
So, we’re not sure. Honesty, vulnerability, and empathy are probably better buzzwords for us.
...these days we’re the most intrigued by situations that are simple and true. That said, we have a few wacky ideas and experiences that we’re excited to share at the art museum this month.
DAM: It sounds like The Narrators is a super collaborative and inviting group! Can you talk a bit more about how you work together to make your shows?
TN: Well, it requires an insane number of emails, text messages, and Facebook chats. We don’t have a leader or hierarchy. There’s an endless stream of tasks to complete each month and we all work together to accomplish them. We host a handful of special events throughout the year, partnering with other organizations, and we get to “collaborate” with hundreds of incredible people every year—the brave and generous folks who get on stage and share their stories. At its heart, The Narrators is all about unexpected, unrehearsed, raw, true stories from people of all different backgrounds. We have produced ambitious performances in the past—storytellers paired with musicians, acrobats, puppets, and more—but these days we’re the most intrigued by situations that are simple and true. That said, we have a few wacky ideas and experiences that we’re excited to share at the art museum this month.
DAM: The Narrators hosts incredible shows every month at Buntport Theater and at other venues around Denver, but we’re wondering, what’s it like to perform inside an art museum?
TN: This will be our fourth appearance at Untitled Final Fridays, so we’re getting pretty comfortable performing at the art museum! Museums are already filled with stories, which can sometimes be a battle. There are more distractions, there’s more noise pollution. People can just wander in and out. That’s very different than a quiet, dark theater where the audience is seated and listening closely to one person. That’s one reason why we’re excited about this month, where we have all four floors of the Hamilton Building at our disposal. Our performers will share live stories inspired by the artwork, as always, but we’ll also have live illustrators to watch and activities for folks who can’t stand still. Visitors will get to see the museum’s artwork through a different lens and create their own stories. And then they’ll get a chance to hang those stories in the museum for the general public, mail them to a close friend, or feed their darkest secrets into a paper shredder.
DAM: So, what’s an exhibition that doesn’t exist, but probably should?
TN: We love anything that approaches curation from a different angle—we’d love to see an exhibit entirely of artwork that the curator finds aesthetically unpleasant or without cultural value.
DAM: Yes! That would be amazing! Okay, now if you could do anything you want in a museum, what would it be?
TN: Fly, be invisible, read minds—the usual things anybody would want to do for a short time, no matter where they were!
DAM: One final question—you’re passing out invitations to your event—what do they say?
TN: Come to this! We want to share our stories with you and we want you to share yours. It will remind you why being a human is okay (and interesting and terrible and complicated and funny).
Don’t miss The Narrators' creative takeover of Untitled Final Fridays, happening on Friday, February 23, from 6–10 pm at the Denver Art Museum.