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Articles About Storytelling

Game: Fact and Fiction-Truth Or Lies
By:

My Daddy told me that it was OK to lie under one condition. The only time you were supposed to lie was when you had to protect the truth. Like…you were in a war and you were captured by the other side and they were torturing you to get information out of you, well, you could tell them a whole lot of stuff that wasn’t true, just to get them confused.

But, I was never supposed to lie to hide the truth…to get out of something that I’d done all by myself by blaming it on someone else, like lying to hide the truth that I really did break that vase and I was so scared of getting spanked I said I hadn’t done it.

Trouble was ---sometimes it was mighty hard for me to tell the difference.

Trouble was---sometimes telling a lie was just plain fun, and I rarely got to have an opportunity to do it just for fun. Maybe if I’d had more opportunities, I would have grown up a politician.

So, let’s play this game. This game, called FACT & FICTION/TRUTH & LIES takes you through a process, which is the very essence of storytelling at its best. You’ll be so busy just having fun that you won’t realize until afterwards that not only did you tell a story, but you told it well and you LIKED it.

1. Everyone gets a partner.

2. Tell your partner a true story, something that really did happen to you. Tell it quietly. Don’t let anyone other than your partner hear you tell it. Take five minutes each.

3. Not letting anyone overhear your plans, decide which of the two stories you want to keep to play the game with and throw the other one away. Choose the story that could have happened to either of you.

4. Now there are two people and one story. Each of you will prepare one version of that same story. One will tell the true version and one will change his/her version so much that it might not even sound like the first one. You can change where the story happened, when it happened, why it happened, who it happened to, and you can even change what actually happened a little bit.

5. Now you have two stories, one that is true and one that is a lie - fiction. Here’s the tricky part! The two of you are going to stand up and tell your stories as a partnership - a team. One will tell first and then the other. BUT - the one who is telling the truth is going to pretend he/she is lying. (Smile, giggle, get embarrassed, mess with your clothes, don’t make eye contact, fuss with you hair, etc. - don’t do it too much or they won’t believe you - but do just enough so that the audience will be pretty sure you are lying - even though you aren’t. AND - the one who is lying, pretends to be telling the truth (Make eye contact, don’t giggle or wiggle, don’t mess with your clothes, just be relaxed and confident and super cool.)

6. The audience will listen to both the stories. Then they can ask you questions. If you are the person who is telling the truth, answer the question truthfully. If you are the person who is telling fiction, well, you can say anything they might believe.

7. Then the audience votes. How many of you think this person is the truth teller? How many of you think this person is the truth teller? We write the scores on the blackboard.

8. Then folks in the audience say why they thought you were, or the other person was not telling the truth. (Some of these reasons can be pretty strange: like: I have been to Utah, so I think maybe you were too. Or, yeah, pigs do eat coal, that’s for sure, so you’ve gotta be telling the truth, etc.)

9. Then we find out. Will the truth teller take a bow? He/she does. Everyone who voted for that person cheers and it is a very exciting moment. We enjoy this game and at the same time we are learning how to find a story, shape a story, think about how we are going to tell it, tell it successfully, and get feedback and celebration for it. What more could we ask? (Well, maybe some chocolate.)

10. Then it’s the next couple’s turn. And so we go. When we get to the end, we have a winning score. The score is the number of people who were tricked by each set of tellers, for example if Joe and Tom tell together, Tom is telling the truth and Joe telling fiction. The audience votes: Joe 12 and Tom 6. The score is 12, because Joe and Tom together fooled 12 people. (The 6 who voted for Tom were not fooled at all.)

11. Once we get a winning pair, it is fun to have others challenge them. This game gets better and better the more often you play it because your skills are getting stronger and stronger and you think up better and better stories - ones within which it is harder and harder to figure out the truth from the lie.

REMEMBER, THE TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION.

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