Crimer Show @CrimerShow · Jun 13

KIDMOM: (driving) Moy Goot! The Skoy! (brakes suddenly) Moy butefule Citey! Its liek soemthinge fromthe Bibel! The ende ,not the stort

Writing about an event is to be constantly chasing. Rifling through layers of memory, taking image/sound/feeling/thought and attempting to align it with language is inevitably limited. ‘How outside the writers language is in relation to the event…How lost it is now’ (Heathfield, 2006: p.179). The most detailed description of every aspect of an experience can only, at best, evoke subjective interpretation, even for those who have been present at that which is described. Every reader brings unique context and vision; each word is filtered through this, and personal interpretation conjured in the mind. If writing is the event then this becomes the purpose, not the problem. We don’t describe memory, we are in the midst of its creation, and this can occur in a new type of performative experience.

Crimer Show @CrimerShow · Jun 13

DETETCIVE: (lying in stairwell in the dark) Asstant,youm ther?Im cant moev!Youm ther? (bites fist) Whats hav I did? (shakes) CrimERRRRRRRR !

‘Performance Writing explores relationships between textual and text-based work when developed in conjunction with other media and discourses’ (Bergvall, 2006)

Created in 2006, Twitter is an online writing platform, a timeline of 140-character moments. ‘A new media: defining new formats, defining new stories’ (Fitzgerald, 2013). Traditionally, writing can be seen as a monologue from author to reader, handed to the latter as a completed package. Feedback may generate further writing to emerge in response, but again it emerges finalised. Twitter discards this arrangement. Feedback is immediate; variation arises in conversation between writers and readers across the world, anyone can partake in the conversation at any point, often uninvited. Many voices influence the choice of what is written next. Readers become part of the temporal nature of the writing as in real time they force their way into the process of producing. As performance writing reflects the ‘cross disciplinary and fragmentary condition of the arts’ (Allsopp, 1999: p. 76), Twitter is the next logical step. Its fragments are strictly enforced; its very nature is cross-disciplinary. Everyone can and will partake in the creation, unafraid to intervene thanks to the anonymity the Internet provides. Instead of many connected to a singular point of writing, many are connected to many simultaneously. Writing becomes a point of interaction with experience in a new and different way.

Twitter also contains new rules for readers: normally we choose how we read, but the sequential nature of Twitter removes this agency from us. The lack of completion forces patience, forces us to sit and wait. At one time readers could ‘tune in live from’ 8pm each night for stories live tweeted from @NYerfiction (The New Yorker Fiction Twitter account). Writing becomes the performance as its audience wait for the next moment to appear live before them on screen, reading becomes physical action in the constant page refreshing, favouriting, replying or retweeting. Once the writing reaches the reader it gains another lease of life beyond itself. Virality appears as tweets become memes become tumblr posts become reddit threads become buzzfeed articles become a story by the huffington post. The constant conversation snowballs every day, adapting and evolving as it moves.

Correspondingly, the process of writing adopts a codified physicality not unlike certain work in performance. There is a specific way in which one can tweet, relying heavily on the thumbs. Like ballet steps, the thumbs move in a certain number of ways, and from this movement comes writing. Twitter becomes the theatre, not just a mechanism of distribution but also of production. There is also a specific physical space involved; that of the phone screen. In the Apple-centric modern world touch-screens are ergonomic stages: keyboards can be customised, languages chosen, autocomplete off/on, creating stages more malleable than the best physical sets. We find ourselves in a world of the physical and the virtual stage, one creating the other. Like Pepper’s Ghost, writing is produced two-fold with the physical space of the author and the virtual theatre viewable from many locations.

Twitter is undoubtedly performative, but still we see words written about things rather than actors or objects representing those things before us. As opposed to writing about an event, trying to describe these actors/objects, writing as event deliberately utilises subjectivity. The freedom is in the lack of real world counterpart to convey, readers can run wild in their filling in of the details. The writing does not communicate a performance, its enables the performance’s creation in the readers mind. Experimentations with language and narrative (epitomised in the highly successful work of @CrimerShow) compel creative thought, differing perspectives and unique responses, evident in the ever-developing creativity of online culture.

There is great importance and potential in writing on different platforms, with different rules. As the theatre of twitter continues to grow it is impossible to predict what it will generate next. It is clear however that as more writers experiment with the possibilities of medium, of writing as physical and virtual event, opportunities for what writing can achieve expand every day, and readers hold increasingly active roles in deciding where the medium goes next.

Crimer Show @CrimerShow · Jun 13

CRIMER: (looking down at the city streets) Go to slepe. (puts on sunglasses) Everthinge… (turns to camera) ..is All rigt

Francesca Willow

Francesca Willow is a London-based performer, writer and dramaturg. She originally trained in Contemporary Dance at Trinity Laban before studying an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies at King’s College London. She is open to a wide variety of work, but particularly loves collaborating with artists from other mediums.


Allsopp, Ric, ‘Performance Writing’, PAJ, 61 (1999), 76-80

Bergvall, Caroline, ‘Keynote : What Do We Mean By Performance Writing’, 1996

Byers, Madeline, ‘Beauty In Brevity: What Is Twitter Fiction And What Can It Do For Content Marketers?’, Blog.aha-writers.com, 2014 <http://blog.aha-writers.com/twitter-fiction-and-what-it-can-do-for-content-marketers&gt; [accessed 24 February 2015]

Fitzgerald, Andrew, ‘Adventures In Twitter Fiction’, Ted.com, 2013 <http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_fitzgerald_adventures_in_twitter_fiction?language=en#t-3513&gt; [accessed 24 February 2015]

Heathfield, Adrian. ‘Writing of the Event’ in A Performance Cosmology, ed. By Judie Christie, Richard Gough and Daniel Watt, pp. 179-182. London: Routledge, 2006

Twitter.com, ‘Crimer Show (@Crimershow)’, 2015 <https://twitter.com/crimershow&gt; [accessed 10 February 2015]

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