How much of that is true?

I get asked that question a lot about my performances and my writing.

I struggle with the idea of truth and fiction and how much people should be able confirm as "true". My work isn't meant to trick anyone, but it does present itself as some form of authentic experience being retold to an audience.

So what's my responsibility to the questioner? How should I respond when people ask me 'How much of that was true?'

I've been looking for people to speak at The Bad Vibes Club and someone suggested Nicholas Ridout. I read this essay of his, Performance in the Service Economy: Outsourcing and Delgation (it's on page 126 of the linked pdf), and in the final section he kind of sums up my ambivalence about answering the question, or maybe gives a good reason not to answer it.

'Theatre is, most of the time, a kind of delegated performance, in which actors or performers appear as representatives of or stand-ins for others and in which they carry out their actions as agents of higher powers, such as authors and directors. When a theatrical performance seeks to disrupt this familiar system of representation — such as, for example, someone appears on stage either as themselves or in such a way as to lay claim to a specific identity whose story or plight is being dramatised — a muddle often breaks out. This might be considered as a confusion between outsourcing and delegation, in which the right to present the representation of a certain identity is assumed to belong only to those actors or performers who can claim the authentic possession of that identity, so that they may plausibly and perhaps legitimately make the public claim that ‘this is my story’. This confusion arises out of a misrecognition of the function of theatre — albeit a misrecognition that much theatre and theatrical criticism has sought to encourage. Even when theatre is making no claim about the authenticity of its performers in respect of the story or situation they are representing, it tends to make the implicit and inclusive claim, addressed to the audience, that ‘this is our story’: the story enacted, such as the story of the House of Atreus or the tragedy of Oedipus, is the story of the polis that is supposedly gathered in the theatre. But at one and the same time the structure of the theatre itself makes the exact opposite claim, that ‘this is not our story’. This establishment of minimal distance is, I think, one of the preconditions of theatrical representation and so pervasive that even when the performers enacting the representation really are the very people they purport to represent, they are, in the theatre, only delegates at best'