Who doesn’t enjoy a story? There’s something so homely about listening to someone tell a tale, whether fictional or nonfictional. Nothing is more raw than the story - or an excerpt of such - of one’s life. From the beginning, the audience was bumbling with curiosity. What was to come? No one could predict such truth. William Yang’s The Story Only I Can Tell is a night of story encapsulated in oratory and projection slides. This is no Once Upon A Time, this is the reality, or a memory of reality, in its most raw.
Four stories were told before William Yang’s performance. Four various stories by Tauranga migrants Richard Bialostocki, Beverly Scarlett, Dhairat Mehta and, Cynthia Qiu. These four have briefly worked with William Yang and were thus, enabled to tell their stories. These stories, along with William’s, are the inexplicit truths of their lives and their journies into new lands. Each story leaves us confounded, confused and overcome with emotion. Each story is so raw and real, and speaks of love, of loss, of psychedelic experiences or otherwise. We are left taking a piece of them with us as we leave the X Space.
The Story Only I can Tell is performed after a brief intermission. William Yang’s performance is profound, filled with history of his own. He tells us of his life, heritage and his journey past internalized racism and many other things. His past is brought to life with the usage of projected images, film and music. William has such a way of storytelling that the audience is left hanging at every word. He pauses, a beat passes, our minds take in his fluid language and we are left on edge for him to masterfully continue his story.
It is difficult to share something that has manifested within you for a long time, whether be it a lack of words or because of the traces that were left behind. Stories are intimate and William Yang, along with the four Tauranga migrants, share their intimacies in this night. It is masterful and entertaining in its own way. Just don’t forget to bring some tissues because you are most certainly going to cry. You will be left astounded and gasping at things you would have never thought would happen to someone. You will never know until you listen, because these are the stories only they can tell.