Summer slam series ends on a high note with 'Fictional Personas'
|August 12, 2012: Audience at 'Personas'|
This past Sunday night we wrapped up the "Breakout" series with a ‘grand slam’ [Author's note: Hah! Please don’t punch me.] at Doyle’s Café in Jamaica Plain. The theme was “Fictional Personas,” in which tellers were invited to “Channel Shakespeare, your cat or Snow White and tell a story from their perspective.”
While this slam allowed stories that weren’t true, or about someone else (but told in 1st person), many of the tellers stuck to true stories; personal vignettes about identity in various shades of sweet, sad and hilarious. In short, this theme was wide open to interpretation, so those who love variety (we sure do!) were not disappointed.
|Tellers in order, from left to right. Not pictured: 1st place winner Sandy Miller-Jacobs.|
Scott ‘Spider’ Schultz kicked things off with a very funny story about being paid to impersonate a professional baseball player and the resulting damage to several pieces of important sports memorabilia.
Dick Freeman followed up with a tale about “Lead Belly” – a much beloved car that, despite never once being driven while he owned it, seemed to have a life of its own.
Paula Junn came next and “introduced” us to her grandmother – the mother of 13 children and general paragon of maternal kindness and grace.
Next up, first-time teller Bart Thompson wowed us with a very charming confession that he occasionally pretends to be someone else at bars and parties. This time, ‘Sebastian’ was a ski enthusiast from D.C… That is, until he met a genuine D.C. native.
Hal Miller-Jacobs told a wonderful re-imagining of the story behind Neil Armstrong’s famous words, and won 2nd place for his trouble. “Well, what I really said was, ‘One small step for a man; one giant leap for Manny Klein,” insisted the fictitious Neil. Video here!
After a brief intermission, David Nevins (another awesome first-time teller) explained that, if only he’d been named ‘Owen,’ he might have been a rock star or maybe an Olympic athlete -- and that he spent most of his young life lamenting the fact that he’d been named “David,” after his grandfather. Also, after his uncle. Whose son is also named David.
Leonardo Souza (again, great first-timer!) hid a bit of wisdom in a humorous story about moving to Boston from Brazil, making friends, and the magic of IKEA.
Sandy Miller-Jacobs, who is not exactly a stranger to slams, but new to telling, won 1st place with a story about hands and fingernails only a mother could love. Listen to the whole story (complete with killer punch line) here.
Claire Winthrop donned the cap of “The little old lady who lived in a shoe” and patiently explained how she found her giant.
Our last official teller (also a newcomer!), Silvana Stephen, reminded us that “Life is too short to be small.” in a tale about a friendly meeting on a train and how she became an author’s unsuspecting muse.
Our summer slams don’t have judges, so winners are picked exclusively by audience ballot. In order to give us time to mull it over, Ben Cunningham and H.R. Britton (massmouth slam veterans, both) volunteered “bonus” stories. Because they’re the best.
Last, but not least! A big Thank You to our host for the night, the lovely and patient Norah Dooley (storyteller, author and massmouth Exec. Director), who guided us the whole way through. She even managed to get two stories in, piece by piece, between tellers. Although they were not at all related, both involved pirates (lucky us!).
What really struck me about this slam (this actually happens pretty consistently, but still manages to surprise) was the quality of the first-time tellers’ stories. The veteran tellers were great as a matter of course – telling with a practiced ease that’s always a pleasure to watch – but man! Whether prepared in advance, scribbled on a piece of scrap paper minutes before going on or completely off the cuff, the stories we heard from first-time tellers really and truly impressed the heck out of me. Great job and thank you to everyone who participated (you too, listeners!). If you run into any of these fine folks, extend a high five; they earned it!
|Congrats, Sandy and Hal Miller-Jacobs, who won 1st and 2nd place (respectively)!|
Find videos of Sandy and Hal Miller-Jacobs’ stories and countless others on our website!
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All photos courtesy of Paula Junn.