The Playback Theatre Performs in Monterey Saturday October 14


The Highland County Arts Council is bringing the Playback Theatre to Monterey as part of it’s Second Saturday @7 series.  Playback Theatre members present storytelling through an interactive form of improv.

Boomie Pederson is the Artistic Director of The Hamner Theatre and works closely with the Playback Theatre of Virginia.

“We come with nothing and we rely on stories from the audience for our material,” says Pederson.   “So basically, it’s an opportunity for people to come together and share stories and people always say ‘Oh I don’t have a story’ and miraculously that is not true.  People have stories and Playback takes them and plays them back.  So, in the way that you have, you know, if everybody looks at a work of art everyone has a slightly different interpretation, so it’s sort of like that.  We take the stories and we maybe bring out things that the teller didn’t even know was in the story or they realize things that they might not have realized.  So, it’s just a lot of, there’s a lot of, discovery for the audience which is really fun.”

“An audience who comes to watch Playback is left with the sense that we all have more in common than we ever thought,” says Pederson.   “In all of the stories, there is always an aspect that, ‘Oh my goodness, I could see that in my own life’ or ‘Oh, this happens a lot’ or ‘Oh, I have a story that that reminds me of’.  I also teach improv and one of the things that happens in improv is that people don’t think their own material is interesting and then they try to make things up that are wacky and crazy and the stuff that is invented is not nearly as interesting as the true story, and that is absolutely true.  So, people think they don’t have interesting lives, or their stories aren’t deep or whatever, but they are.  And that’s just the amazing discovery, that everyone is endlessly fascinating.”

The Playback Theatre is at The Highland Center in Monterey on Saturday, October 14, at 7pm.

“We did a Playback event down at Grace Church in Massie’s Mill and there was a woman who told this really interesting story that didn’t seem to have, it didn’t have a beginning, a middle, an end,” says Pederson.  “It was just sort of a narration and we did the best we could with it and at the end her husband was practically in tears saying, ‘My wife has dementia and no one listens to her and you guys listened to her and told her story.’   So, it’s that kind of thing that you don’t realize when you’re doing it is happening and it’s an incredible gift.  So, we never know what’s going to come out of the audience and I think the audience never knows what’s going to come out of their story.”

Admission for the Playback Theatre is $10.

The Highland County Arts Council is a supporter of Allegheny Mountain Radio.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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