Feature/Comedy

Words on song

5 December 2019

Everyone loves a good story, especially one straight from the heart. Ara Jansen finds out why the much-loved Barefaced Stories series has become such a success at the Fremantle Arts Centre.

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Musicians usually use their singing voices, instruments and songs to tell their stories.

This month at Fremantle Arts Centre’s Barefaced Stories the musicians won’t be able to use (or potentially hide behind) any of those things.

The challenge and the potential exhilaration of the monthly storytelling event is the opportunity to stand on stage and share a story lasting less than 10 minutes to a room full of unknown people. It’s the place to tell a tale, maybe get something off your chest, reveal something or simply take flight in the telling. That’s the beauty, risk and freedom of Barefaced Stories.

The ‘Music Edition’ line up this month includes Alex & Rob (Hope… It’s a Trap Podcast), Andrew McDonald (artist, comedian and cultural critic), Michael De Grussa (Kill Devil Hills, Eskimo Joe) and Jamie Mykaela (comedy/cabaret) alongside special guest musicians Lucy Peach and Ofa Fotu (Hot Brown Honey, Odette Mercy).

“For the musicians, it’s performing in a very different way to what they are used to,” says Barefaced Stories co-creator Andrea Gibbs. “It’s not about being a character but being real and you.”

It’s not the time to trot out those stories you’ve told ad nauseum over the years. No, this is a space to potentially go to those dark, amazing, sad, wonderful and never told before places.

“We push people because if you have something you feel you shouldn’t say, that’s the story we want to hear.”

Gibbs says the night is usually curated to make sure the stories have a light and shade about them. They must be true and storytellers are encouraged not to memorise the piece like a monologue, but rather tell it as you would to a friend.

“There are always laughs, even in really dark stories. It’s almost like people needing to breathe.”

The monthly event celebrates the idea that everyone has a story to tell and the Barefaced stage has played host to everyone from truck-drivers to accountants.

Barefaced Stories is 12 December at Fremantle Arts Centre.

Pictured top: Barefaced Story co-creators Andrea Gibbs and Kerry O’Sullivan. Photo Simon Pynt

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Author —
Ara Jansen

Ara Jansen is a freelance journalist. Words, bright colour, books, music, art, fountain pens, good conversation, interesting people and languages make her deeply happy. A longtime music journalist and critic, she’s the former music editor of The West Australian. Being in the pool next to the playground is one of her favourite places, ever.

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