It’s not about me: An Oral History Memoir Solo Performance
Abstract: What lives in this digital archive is an oral history solo performance of a woman—myself—sharing an experience of what it means to be disabled, walking around with an “invisible bruise”. An experience I claim has very little say on anyone else’s disability, even with those who might have the same condition.
Preface: This live in-person solo monologue of a personal narrative on disability is a form of resistance to all the trained and credentialed experts telling the story of others whose bodies, lives, or cultures they might study but have no direct embodied experience with, merging the divide between “studied” and “lived”.
An invitation for critical inquiry:
Is a performance still considered an oral history when the piece is performed by the narrator themselves? What is the difference between oral history and sharing one’s life story? Must an interviewer be involved when collecting a story? Or is it possible for the narrator to have agency over the full spectrum of production from start to finish—from workshopping, narrating, editing, and presenting? Is performing one’s own story an assault to oral history? What changes when a story is embodied and presented live, by the “experiencer” verses a traditional recorded audio file? Must identities or personas be performed by the narrator, if the narrator is performing the self, meaning—is it possible to perform one’s self? How is the sensorial evoked in an oral history performance through the retelling of a life lived?
What follows is an oral history presented from the physical archive of personal memory…