Monologuists, solo performers, raconteurs and other storytellers have much in common with keynote speakers. This monologue is formatted in a different way to a keynote, which is often simply word-processed. However, the arc of the story and its interactivity are similar in the theatre and at business events.
You can become an even better keynote speaker by going to solo performances and by reading play scripts for one-person shows.
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‘HOAXES & JOKESES‘ by Rodney Marks & Benjamin Marks
1. HERE GOES NOTHING
Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, playwrights and plagiarists: salutations and felicitations, greetings one and all, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, good day and good night.
You’re all important people.
I can see that.
You’ve come to the theatre.
Invested in space and time and money.
So, I should begin with a deal of sorts, a social contract, and statement of mutual obligation, mutuality, quid pro quo and reciprocity.
If I keep to my role for an hour and a half, and you all keep to your role for about 90 minutes, then we should all finish at about the same time.
However, if you finish listening before I finish speaking, just think quietly to yourselves until I catch up.
Are we really equal-but-different? There’s no turn-taking at being first-amongst-equals.
This is a consumerist society, and you’re the consumers. I mean, whilst we probably have similar educational, psychological and cultural backgrounds, our paths diverged as a result of now-regretted career choices, and our socioeconomic groups stratified.
I am here in a one-person show in a fringe venue.
My fellow performers are less than enamoured with my personality, talent, looks, age and résumé.
Thus the solo element of my aloneness, but not the sole one.
One difference between being alone and being lonely may be exemplified in this performance space.
As a performer, I am alone on the stage, but I don’t necessarily feel alone.
Except when you all forget that part of your role is to acknowledge my existence, be positive, and pay twice for your seats – once at the box office, once through taxes.
As a member of the audience, each of you is not alone. You are together.
You may be isolated, estranged and even alienated from the person or persons with whom you journeyed here.
You may be wondering what your nearest and dearest are doing in the outside world right now.
If that’s the case: concentrate.
Be where you are.
Be in the moment.
I have to.
Nonetheless, there’s a bunch of you, and only one of moi.
It may come down to the economics of the performing arts.
Hence, thence, whence, however so much and not really having the wherewithal to do or to be other than what you see before you, wherefore and therefore whyfore, here I am.
Your very presence here may well be a sign of personal failure, an inability to entertain yourselves, an addiction to self-indulgent navel-gazing, a neurological need to be intellectually stimulated from apathy to atrophy, paralysis by analysis.
There’ll be time for questions at the end.
2. THE SNAKE THAT SWALLOWED ITS TAIL
I want to discuss two things, and two things only, with you now.
The first is a system for discussing things; the second, a fresh, explanatory idea about our place in the world.
The system is not so much radial or annular or circular or circumlocutory, but, in a roundabout kind of way, cyclic.
A lot of thinking has gone into it, systems thinking, making it a thinking system.
It is systemic, systematic and systematised.
A number of resources are required to fuel the system.
Firstly – and this “firstly” implies a number of numbers, a list, a sequence of consequence.
However, first things first, and so to “firstly”.
Firstly, there’s human resources, also known as people.
From “firstly” one could infer “secondly”, and, if you did, or had, you’d have been be correct.
“Secondly” – and there it was – there are financial resources, such as our once almost whole dollar.
Thirdly, the physical resources of property, plant and equipment. So tangible, so fungible, so transferable.
Fourthly, time, the ultimate finite resource, which is either a numerator or a denominator, depending upon where and when your did your maths, or math, as we’ve recently become a pluralistic society.
And fifthly, like the snake or dragon, from both Western and Eastern philosophy and mythology: the creature that is swallowing its own tail – that impossible icon, that improbable emblem – the system itself, an increasingly concentric circle, is part of its own input, as kind of endlessly self-calibrating feedback loop.
These inputs are input as input and then, as throughput, transformed into output, the outcomes from which are measured initially qualitatively and ultimately quantitatively against a plethora of hierarchies, an aggregation of continua and a collection of assessment criteria, before being fed back into the thinking system, based as it is on systems thinking, as both refined input and a submission to other systems thinkers for further systemic thinking, to be thought upon.
3. CHANGING ROLES
And now to the ideation mentioned earlier.
Audience members, each and every one of you, together constitute a separate, original audience.
There is a mob feel, a groupthink, a cohesion within an audience by which individuals give up their individuality and go with the majority, an insane and necessarily yielding mass.
But within that mass, this mass,
(gestures towards the audience)
each person at a different time takes turns at the role of auditor, of having an outsider’s perception.
And with a roomful of auditors, this theatre turns into an auditorium.
A pair of eyes is turned away from the performance space and towards the watchers, the listeners.
At that moment, for that nanosecond, that person becomes an “audient”.
Two or more audients make an audience.
Three or more audients, and Actors Equity becomes involved.
Audiences as a whole are proudly practical, pragmatic and down-to-earth, even anti-intellectual, and uniquely qualified to be so.
Solitary audients, however, have out-of-body experiences, doubting the accuracy of their perceptions. They feel inside out, outside in, topsy-turvey, a fool in a crowd of geniuses, a Nobel laureate at the asylum.
So, here you all are, in your changing roles as part of the group and separate from it, and in transition, in translation, from one to the other.
4. PARADIGM SHIFT
However, the particular idea under discussion is predicated on a precedent.
In turn, that pattern has become the precept for a concept, which has subsequently been ameliorated into a template.
Then, consequently and pre-ante-penultimately, it has been graphically laid out as a model in matrix format.
Initially, this grid had two dimensions and two axes – x and y.
Later on, ante-penultimately, it was reshaped into a Rubic’s Cube-like three-dimensional manifestation of the same – with a z axis being added.
Penultimately, it was pushed through and out of this six-sided figure, which was dicey, and became a paradigm, which, ultimately, I am delighted say, I shifted.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering how the policy-making system on the one hand,
(holds up one hand, and keeps it raised)
can, in a dotted-line sense, be connected to the idea on the other.
(holds up the other hand, then drops both)
Well, we were fortunate enough to receive special, one-off triennial funding to pay for some postdoctoral jolly good fellows.
They constructed some very interesting theoretical and hypothetical conjoint, converging and diverging parallel lines, interconnecting the two, so that the intersection of the vertices of the nexi dovetailed perfectly.
The various component parts were integrated and synthesised into an holistic totality, making what would otherwise have been facile and gratuitous, lucid and articulate.
Further grants allowed public-private partnership infrastructure to be superimposed on the superstructure, contextualising the content.
This was essential, as content with context has no meaning.
Anyway, I mention all this before I begin,
in order to clarify and classify and categorise and, as I said, systemise, some of the terms and conditions, I mean terms and concepts, that I hope we’ll go through here tonight so that we have the corpus of key concepts, the same slew of near-synonyms and the same linguistic wastepaper baskets in which to dip.
[THE PERFORMER should feel free to treat this as a rhetorical question, or to improvise an answer. No pressure; this is a real choice.]
I recall that many of you do not know what a question is, having been educated locally, where rote learning is all the go.
(as an aside)
I do hope that you don’t find me patronising or pompous or bombastic or supercilious.
If you do, please just accept that as a bonus.
After all, if someone like me doesn’t tell you, who will?
(to the centre)
A question often begins with who, why, where, how, which, what or when, and ends with a metaphorical interrogative, which the few literate or numerate amongst you will recognise as a question mark.
(as another aside)
which is the study of verbal and nonverbal behaviour in toto, including non-word spoken utterances, unspoken word communiqués and attempted communication such as self-censored word bubbles or balloons,
(to the centre again)
suggests that one cannot fully understand the nature of the question, unless one knows a little about the questioner.
So, if you could be so kind as to be recognised, tell me a bit about yourself, what you do, where you do it, how long you’ve done it there, and then proceed with the text of the intent of the import of the inquiry, that would be most helpful.
Who would like to ask the first question?
I have an answer and I’d like to use it.
No, well then, in summing up in the pithy style with which I’ve become associated, I’d just like to say that, as I don’t wish to be verbose of loquacious or garrulous, or chatty or talkative, in any way, shape or, ah, form, um: welcome.
Here we are, then, at the end of the beginning.
I hope that it’s not the beginning of the end.
Rather, we now move on to the beginning of the pert of this play on words to what dramaturgs and literary advisers call: the next bit.
5. A TRIP TO THE LIBRARY
I thought that this might be a good time in the proceedings to go through all knowledge known to scholars throughout history.
Let’s limit the scope to five minutes, and, as a reward, we could have a short intermission afterwards.
We are helped in this endeavour by history, which tells us,
(like a vaudevillian)
in chapter two,
(unlike a vaudevillian)
that most professionals, philosophers, social scientists and and real ones, spend much of their working lives successfully disproving the theories and propositions and values of their peers and predecessors.
So let’s just work with generally accepted principles, and four minutes should do the job.
The development of information technology as an industry has been a way to keep all the ADHD, tunnel-vision, single-focus hocus pocus kids out of the decision-making arena.
Computer science is the domain of those for whom the repository is of more interest that its contents.
Computers keep the irresponsible unresponsive, and away from responsibility.
Studying philosophy is simply an excuse to be poorly dressed, don’t you think?
And psychology, whilst it may assist psychologists in labelling enemies, is based on a fallacy, spelt f a l l a c y for those with sex on the brain.
The study of mental illness is futile, for the mind is not a bodily organ, but a metaphor for thinking; it is not the same as the brain. What physical presence do ideas have? So since illness only affects bodily organs, and the mind if not a bodily organ, therefore mental illness is a myth.
Econometrics is actually economic history, not economic science, since there are no constants of human action, measure of quantity are historical and utility is not intersubjectively comparable.
Enjoy the break.
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I’m an Australian comedian, hoax speaker and corporate impostor. I mainly present comic hoaxes at business events. If you like these blogs, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.
Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks. I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical.