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Culture » Culture Features

Have A Seat: Armchair Returns To Tin Pan Theater

Conceptually it might sound like a bore: eight people stand on a stage and each tell an unrehearsed story without the use of props.



Conceptually it might sound like a bore: eight people stand on a stage and each tell an unrehearsed story without the use of props.

But add to this that the theme of all the stories will be “Up All Night,” and that this event will be held in the intimate Tin Pan Theater and it all starts to sound a little voyeuristic and, therefore, interesting.

Yes, this sort of live storytelling template where brave souls tell stories of their lives has proven popular around the nation, including in Portland where it’s called Back Fence PDX, and New York City where it’s called The Moth.


The idea went over well here last spring, too, when the first Armchair event rolled out and storytellers spoke about trespassing. The tales were dramatic. Stories of hazing, pranks and social misfits were told in between long stretches of silence, when stories got surreal or raw in the honesty of the telling.


“We had a lot of energy after the first event and we decided to keep it at Tin Pan Theater because of the intimate setting; it’s a perfect venue for it,” said Gretchen Raynak, the originator of Armchair events in Bend.

For this second installment in the Armchair series, Raynak has once again partnered with creative megawatts Matt Ebbing, Cassondra Schindler, Jordan Elliott and Sara Yellich. René Mitchell, who was a storyteller at the first event, has also joined the team.

We were hoping for a sneak peak at what we can only hope are stories of cokeheads and shenanigans related to the “Up All Night” theme. We got a little taste from participant Lindsey Clark.

“My story will be about a time that I was up all night on one of our Pacific Northwest volcanoes – and not by choice,” said Clark.

Before finally committing to the event, Clark grappled with the idea of public speaking, which she hates. But realized that her story needs to be told.

“It (had been) rearranged into a nonlinear narrative,” said Clark. “I was really excited when I relived the whole experience again.”

All the storytellers will, like Clark, be new this time around. They can take solace in the fact that since there are no rehearsals, no one will notice if their stores get off course.

“The most I can hope for the audience is that they are entertained,” said Clark. “And the most I can hope for myself is that I get through yet another evening on a stage and remember why it's worth putting myself through this torture.”

Photo; Shelby Little

Armchair Live Storytelling Event

$5, 8 p.m., Nov. 8

Tin Pan Theater, 869 NW Tin Pan Alley

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