We are spending this weekend at Moseley Folk Festival performing as The Commentators, spinning out a Test Match Special style radio sports commentary over folk proceedings for seven hours at a stretch, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 – 18:00. Our innovation for this year is that the whole thing can be heard live online around the festival site, at home, wherever you can connect to the internet.
Arty types might call The Commentators ‘long form improvisation’, less arty types might call it ’having a laugh’ and less enlightened types certainly call it “droning on”. We’ve been performing The Commentators in various non or almost sporting settings since 2009. This is our fourth time at this festival and I’m amazed that they keep asking us back; I cling to the fact that they do when beset by self-doubt with hours left to go each day.
It’s easiest to commentate imagining people are listening in an imaginary world. The idea that actual people yards away in this actual world are actually listening is always deeply concerning.
To keep us on track we have a number of unwritten rules and guidelines concerning The Commentators:
– they are endlessly enthusiastic and optimistic.
– they are interested in everything.
– they have hypotheses and speculate.
– they are never nasty, cruel or unpleasant.
– they can be skeptical and are often cautious.
– they are experts but never on the subject they are discussing.
– they understand sport and read most of life as sport.
– there are always ‘listeners at home’.
– you only ever get hints of their lives beyond this moment.
– they are not funny.
It would drive us crazy doing too much of The Commentators but fortunately we have other things on. This coming week we’re in Saltley Academy working on the latest edition of The Steps Series which in an installation we’ve been reinventing since 2008. Next week we’re in Madrid with Of All The People In All The World, a performance we first made in 2003. Last week we revived our first hit theatre show It’s Your Film which we made in 1998 and to balance out all these revivals and reinventions, on 17th September we start rehearsing a brand new theatre show, The Capital which will open on 24th October at The REP in Birmingham before going on tour..
Until any of that we have a whole weekend of minutia to keep the listening public up to date with. Please tune in before we drop out.