This exercise proceeds similarly to Playback Theatre. Playback Theatre is an applied theatre technique in which a storyteller tells a story orally, and after they finish, performers reenact the story as a complete image—with movement, characters, and music. This exercise also begins with an oral storytelling tradition. Participants are asked to tell the story of their birth name (though they do not need to state the actual name) three times. First, they are asked to tell the story of that name as it is told by whoever named them—replicating as closely as they can the way that person tells the story and their feelings about it. The story is then acted out by other participants in Playback Theatre style while the storyteller observes. The actors are asked to extrapolate details and make the characters as rich as possible. Then, they are asked to tell the story again from their own perspective, including any retrospective feelings or experiences associated with it. Again, the story is acted out by other participants.
Afterwards, the storyteller is asked to comment on the experience of watching the different stories unfold. The storyteller is asked if they want to add any more details and the scenes are re-performed.
Finally, they are asked to merge the two stories, while both are acted out simultaneously alongside the storytelling. In this performance, the actors are asked to push their performances to a less realistic, more physical/image theatre style in which it is much clearer if the objectives and emotions are conflicting. The two sets of actors should compete for dominance in the story.
The storyteller is then asked to reflect on the experience. What did they notice about the objectives, fears, and desires of those in the first story? What did they feel was being asked of them in this naming process? How did those desires impact their own experience of their name (story two)? How did the two stories conflict or converge in the third performance?