I’m obsessed with stories. I like to see life in stories and weave a cohesive narrative out of a series of events. If you’ve read this Guide for any period of time, you probably gathered that. Stories help you find the moral, the change, the meaning in an otherwise scattered chaos.
I’m known to ask acquaintances, (when our mutual friend is brave enough to leave us alone for a moment), “Tell me a story”. Some people always have a yarn on the tip of their tongue. Others need a prompt, “your favorite birthday” or “a pet that died”. Trading stories based on a proposed theme was a game I made my friends play with me as a kid. I was rather bossy.
“STORYTELLER BECOMES ACTOR/WRITER/NANNY” is not a unique life headline. But I learned last night that obnoxiously curious acquaintances like myself have started an event to hear great stories on a much larger scale. It’s called The Moth. It started in New York with a group of friends who gathered together to tell stories, as the originator once did on his porch in Georgia. The momentum of their spellbinding story salons grew and their venues did too.
Now The Moth inhabits LA as well. Once a week they hold a StorySLAM where anyone can show up with a story. Ten people are chosen randomly to tell a 5 minute story on a theme such as “Distance”, “Fear”, or “Call of the Wild”. A panel of audience judges chooses a winner who will go on to compete in the Moth GRANDSLAM.
I found myself at the GRANDSLAM last night at the EchoPlex in Echo Park with two fabulous storytellers in their own right: actress/comedienne Ericka Kreutz, and actor/playwright John Cariani who wrote a play I love and you may know, “Almost, Maine”.
We heard ten winners tell 5min stories on the theme “Uncharted Territory”. One of my favorites was John Grady’s story of doing Doga…Dog Yoga, with his beloved canine friend, and their journey together.
But each story…from black market eye surgery, to buying condoms for the first time, to directing a middle school play, was well crafted, well told, and completely captivating.
So last night, a new world within Los Angeles opened up to me, and I wanted to share it with you. I recommend The Moth to anyone who needs to laugh, cry, commune, or just find a little more meaning in the chaos.