“Join the conversation” has become the ubiquitous tag line of many pages and online publications. It was part of @TheCapeRobyn masthead. It is no longer on TheCapeRobyn masthead (masthead – still in print media speak, sorry). Reckoned that there is too much talking and not enough listening. Elvis famously crooned in the 1968 song- A Little Less Conversation. Okay, the next line of the song is – “a little more action please”. Staying with “a little less conversation”, we can do with more listening.
I was intrigued when Kelli Harris made contact and told me about Southern Rights and Wrongs- a newish live story event in Cape Town. Ten people tell stories. Five minutes a pop. Storytellers construct a story around the theme of the evening. The organisers provide quickie chit-chat as they introduce speakers but the emphasis is not on the intro or the person’s CV.
My first response was yeah, yeah, yeah. One would think that in the age of the podcast (yes, they have a free podcast- each event is posted) and in the age of just about everything being available online, who would pay to go and sit in a venue and listen to a bunch of people telling stories?
The reality is that although there is heaps out there on the worldwide web – who has time to listen? We flick past posts, skim and delete but how much are we taking in and listening to- with intent?
After attending a Southern Rights and Wrongs session, I understood why this event has attracted a huge following and why people are grabbing tickets. We loved it!
We were captivated by the stories and storytellers. We loved the laid back vibe and the fact that people sat and listened. We met interesting people. The venue is stylish (on the site of where Café Roux used to be). There were specials on Gin & Tonics (R30 – work that out in US dollars, Euros or pounds, to our travellers from abroad- just saying).
The event is brilliantly organised. The time limit is five minutes. If the speaker is nearing the limit a whale whooshing sound is unleashed as a gentle reminder to stop.
Southern Rights and Wrongs is not about promoting a person and his/her/they latest project. A film maker is not there to promote a new film. It may be mentioned that the person is a film maker but this is not a promotional session.
I think this is fabulous. Listening to a filmmaker, one may think, “wow, what an interesting person; what is the latest project in the offing.” Fair enough. But at the storytelling session, it is not about promotion. We listen rapt to a story. We are making time to be present and to listen carefully in an intimate space. Sure, it is a version of a storytelling circle around the fire but we are getting intensely narrated vignettes. The storytellers have practiced their stories and timed them to click in at under five minutes. No visual aids are used. No film clips, animation. It’s definitely not the Pecha Kucha trip. It is the voice as medium, as instrument. This is not storytelling which has an agenda.
We are not attending a seminar, weekend retreat, convention or team building exercise. We are not required to get into the circle and be empathetic and heal ourselves in the communal pool as we chant in unison and then get a certificate attesting to our attendance. This is not a therapy session. It is not a goal orientated session or a module that we can put on our CVs.
It is wonderful to sit back, listen and reflect. We were not instructed to switch mobile devices off but I noticed that most people put away their phones, after filming a few seconds or taking pics. Instead of clapping, we were asked to click our fingers which is less intrusive. The vibe is very much about being respectful and receptive.
Curated is an overused word (as is” join the conversation”) but that what the organisers are doing. They are seeking out captivating people to share stories of life, love, dreaming, loss, hope, and fun, whatever. Bravo to Team Southern Rights and Wrongs: Alon Stern, Eitan Stern and Ma’or Harris.
The concept was inspired by The Moth Sessions in New York – bringing people together to listen to five minute stories in a safe and creative space. Stern was inspired to start a Cape Town version after he attended Moth gigs. He wanted to give it a Cape Town flava and named it after the Southern Right Whale “that swims around our Cape Town shores.” He hoped that the moniker would encourage people to tell stories which reflect their sense of place in this city as they stand in front of us, telling a story. This is not New York and he did not want the vent to be replica of MOTH.
We were charmed and entranced by the stories; the space created by the team; the warmth. Seriously, who has time to listen?!
When you make the effort to go to this event; you are making time to listen to ten people who have put time and effort into preparing a story and in that time, you focus on every word. I am not surprised that this event has attracted an enthusiastic following. It is very special. Lovely sense of humour as the stories are introduced.
🇿🇦STORYTELLING-LIVE 🎭 travel ✈️ advisory – Southern Rights and Wrongs storytelling
1️⃣ WHEN: Ongoing event – every six weeks – next up 7pm, December 3, 2019
2️⃣ VENUE: The Jagger Lounge – 74 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town (Café Roux used to be on this site, in case you are wondering – venue has been zushed up)
3️⃣ TIME: 7pm-9.30pm
￼4️⃣ TICKETS: R100
5️⃣ BOOKING: Preferential booking to subscribers on mailing list. Tickets tend to sell out in less than three hours after going on sale. Here is link to mailing list: http://￼bit.ly/subscribeSRW
🎫 OTHER BOOKING LINKS:
Facebook: Southern Rights and Wrongs
PODCAST: Free! Previous sessions – check out: https://wavve.link/southernrightsandwrongs
🆕 IF YOU DON’T WANT TO DO MAILING LIST:
Okay, so you are freaked out by internet hacking and you refuse to go mailing list route, Instagram of Facebook, we hear you. Send an email to Southernrightsandwrongsstories@gmail.com with subject line: booking request.