It has to be true. It has to be told from your perspective. And, oh yes, you have to tell it live with no notes.
Those are the three main rules for Moth-style storytelling. Sounds intimidating, right? Nevertheless a group of Wake Robin residents learned the art in the Moth-style Storytelling Workshop as part of Inquire, Wake Robin’s lifelong learning this semester.
The workshop would culminate in a spotlighted live performance in Wake Robin’s brand new Meeting Room.
Discovering the Meaning of a Good Story
The workshops began in October and were led by comedic storyteller Sue Schmidt.
Sue is a master Moth storyteller and a big believer in the power of storytelling. As she writes on her website, stories “connect us to each other and define who we are, where we have been, and where we hope to go.”
Wake Robin residents gathered with Sue on Thursday afternoons and unpacked what makes a good story. For one: raise the stakes. What do you stand to gain or lose in your story? Perhaps of more importance: start with an opening line that takes hold of the audience’s imagination. Other key elements Sue stressed to her Wake Robin students included knowing your intention for the story and connecting with the audience through vulnerability.
Many residents doubted whether they could perform live, worrying about remembering and properly delivering their tales. Some were much more comfortable writing down their stories and were challenged by translating them into spoken word. On top of that, there was a time limit, only 5 minutes per story.
During practice, residents kept honing their tales, and Sue, as a seasoned storyteller, had some well-informed advice – embrace your fear.
Residents mustered the courage to share their tales live on stage. Alone in the spotlight, each one shared tales that moved the audience. Stories ranged from helping a cow in distress to a serendipitous cab ride!
After the cheers and applause, the Wake Robin storytellers stood on the stage with their teacher for a memorable photo.
Reflecting on the entire process, one workshop member commented, “It was a really great experience because afterwards everyone knew more deeply about the others. And that helps strengthen our community.”
Such is the power of storytelling here at Wake Robin.
To learn more about Moth storytelling, you can visit their website.