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Introducing The Story of You & I (A Trilogy) offers an intriguing live-art performance for the Brighton Fringe.

As Joanna Bucknall, of the Vertical Exchange Performance Collective, explains, the audience won’t be so much audience as guests at a party which the performers are hosting – in the tiny Eten + Drinken café in Church Street.

“It can only seat three people at one time. There will be two audience members and one performer.”

The show runs from May 24-26 at fixed time slots throughout the day which need to be booked. In return, you will get an intimate, interactive experience that explores the themes of love, loss and regret in three parts. You can experience different episodes of the trilogy across three afternoons, or each evening you can come and binge on them all in one sitting, Joanna explains. Each is 20 minutes long, or you can experience all three in an hour.

Joanna added: “We make live-art performances. We are not particularly interested in fictive narratives. It is more about structures for the audience to inhabit. It is completely interactive. Without the audience, there is no show.”

As for the content: “We are very interested in every-day things. We are reframing the rituals that are associated with a relationship. I have to be a little careful what I say because it would spoil it to give too much away. But it is set in an actual café with people coming and going and buying their coffees.

“I think we will see only 67 audience members across the entire six days. It is very small scale and very intimate. We are very interested in what happens between small groups of people. But it is a very gentle introduction to one-on-one performance. We are giving the audience space to think about parts of their own autobiography and parts of their own story. We are finding ways to help them express moments of them. It is all based around the construction of a relationship, the coming together, the sharing and then the letting it go. Each part of the trilogy is part of that. We have tea together and we build something together and then we launch something into the sea together.”

The audience/performer distinction is blurred, but retained: “We are responsible for holding up the rituals that we are exploring. We have the structures that we are leading the audience through. But it is more like being a guest at a party.”

Consent is important at all stages, Joanna stresses: “At every single stage we ask the audience if they are happy to continue. There are moments where the audience can stop if they wish to. We haven’t had anyone want to before. We had someone consider it!”

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