Food & Drink
A + E
C-Y Elected Officials
The Commercial Appeal: Things to do in Midtown
CYFood in the News
WMC-TV Midtown News
Team MicroMemphis S12
U of M Dept. of Journalism
MicroMemphis Team Spring 2014
Scavenger Hunt 2014
Memphis Matters for
Opinion by Brennan Somers/
When I walked into TheaterSouth in the basement of the First Congregational Church, I didn't know what to expect.
All I knew was that I was assigned to cover a type of improvisational theater titled "Playback Memphis" where actors tell the stories of the audience.
The stage was stark and simple- a black floor, three black walls, and a few colored chairs.
The actors looked equally plain wearing black pants, black shirts, and no shoes.
The night began with eight actors each telling the audience a story on how Memphis has affected their lives.
The stories ranged from how news coverage in Memphis centers on crime coverage to one actors recollection of the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
The opening took ten minutes and was the only portion of the show planned beforehand.
Enter the audience.
The moderator for the evening, actress Virginia Murphy, opened the floor to the audience to share a story involving their lives in Memphis.
As you can imagine, there was a long pause, until someone shouted "I've got a story".
The woman's story was short, even mundane, as she talked about the day she thought she'd lost her dog only to realize he was in the back seat of her car.
Murphy thanked her for her story then faced four actors on stage and said "Let's watch".
The four actors took turns one by one until all four were on stage acting out different thoughts and emotions the woman could have experienced while losing her dog.
Throughout the night as the audience opened up to share stories from childhood to adulthood in the Memphis area; I even shared a story to see how the actors would portray my situation.
Most of the stories were humorous in nature and the audience loosened up as the night wore on through the 90 minute show.
I have seen plays like
Romeo and Juliet
Phantom of the Opera
, but Playback Memphis was a different experience.
I am no theater expert, to say the least, but
was refreshing, revealing, and even exciting as you watch actors rely on their skills and wits, not a script, to tell a story.
And from the stories from the audience to the portrayal on stage from the actors I knew one thing for sure....
Memphis does matter.
MicroMemphis reporter Brennan Somers
You can contact Brennan or follow him on Twitter at
posted May 2, 2014