Re:Tale – stories on the shop floor

20 Nov

Six writers: Daniel Carpenter, Dave Hartley, Nici West, Fat Roland, Nick Garrard and JP Daly.

Six stories.

One shop.

The shop is Jigsaw, not somewhere I’ve been before but somewhere I will be heading again before long. Gorgeous clothes; I have my eye on a few items in time for birthday and Christmas. What a beautiful shop, full of character presumably from the days as Corn Exchange – now the Triangle Shopping Centre. But enough admiration of original features (rich green Victorian tiling, splendid banisters, solid wooden floors – and the less original but still cool leather rhino), we’re gathered here for stories…

leather rhino

Profit and loss spreadsheets atop a leather rhino.

From stalking to shoplifting, employee relations to loneliness, ghosts to dying customers; we meet people who might be fun to work with and others whose gaze, chitchat and meeting requests you’d avoid like the plague.

There are some props and costumes – nothing OTT, no uniform, just blank canvasses. Nici reads from pages on a clipboard, Dan passes around Polaroids and Dave’s story is unfurled handwritten on till rolls, each section begun in the hands of an audience member. Reader, I am one of those audience members; a Hartley original is in my possession.

story on a till roll

A portion of story, handwritten on till roll.

The six original stories are told in a different part of the shop, each writer taking us on to our next instalment. Nici tells her increasingly dark tale in an intimate green room; Joe appears from the changing rooms to tell us about a shoplifting banker’s hi-jinx.

I enjoy picking out links between stories – fleeting mentions of characters we’ve already met, nothing clunky but a moment of recognition. A thoroughly entertaining evening of new writing, with a variety of subjects, styles and delivery. I like the theatrical element of being led to each different part of the shop for a new waiting storyteller; wondering what we’ll hear next. It’s a fun shared experience and one which could work well in similarly unusual settings, I think.

Find out more about Re:Tale

2 Responses to “Re:Tale – stories on the shop floor”

  1. Fat Roland November 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    I’m glad you enjoyed it. What we didn’t tell you is that the rhino wrote most of the stories.

  2. Daniel Carpenter November 20, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Shh Fat Roland, part of the contract we signed with the rhino was that we didn’t disclose his abilities.

    Thanks so much for the kind words, very happy that you had a good time!

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