Time Jumps and Non Linear Storytelling

In Sunday’s GGG rehearsal, we worked on time jumps and non-linear storytelling. I think it can really open up our stories, which so far have only move forward in time, usually with little time passing between scenes, except the Rock Opera, which was narrated, and allowed for time jumps in to the future. We played:

Yesterday
Tomorrow
Chapters
Gossip Cuts
Flashbacks
Fantasy/Possibility/Thought Sequence
Important Event with scenes called before and after

The quality of the work was really high. It made our storytelling so much more efficient and our characters and relationships so much more detailed and nuanced. We had a 25 minute longform with a richer story than most of our 70 minute musicals. It can also prevent gossip. If you are talking about another person or time, you just cut to that and show it, instead of describing it. Time jumps can also add depth to character motivation and history. There’s also an element of interest added in simply jumping throughout time. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it feels a little like solving a puzzle and putting peices together. It lets the audience do a little more work, that they enjoy.

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About Shana Merlin

Merlin Works is the brainchild of Shana Merlin: improviser, teacher, and performer. Since 1996, she’s been leading classes that stretch people’s imaginations, push them out of their comfort zones, and make them laugh out loud for hours at a time.
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