On the Fly, a new monthly story slam event open to the public, debuts at Club Helsinki Hudson on Thursday, June 29, at 7pm, with the theme "Coincidence." Author Eric Wybenga will host. Doors open and signups begin at 6pm.
Produced by Christina Thyssen and Debra Gitterman, On the Fly welcomes local storytellers and those who love stories to participate by telling a story, volunteering to judge, or simply by enjoying the event. On the Fly stories are told, not read. No notes are allowed onstage. Storytellers are selected at random from those who sign up on the night of the story slam.
The theme for each story slam event - which will take place the final Wednesday of each month - will be posted a few weeks in advance to allow storytellers to craft and practice their stories.
Stories at story slams should be real life, personal narratives based on the storyteller's experience and should be no longer than five minutes long. Storytellers may not use props, notes, costumes, or musical instruments.
Each storyteller gets five minutes (plus a one-minute grace period) to tell a story. If the storyteller goes over the six-minute time, one full point will be deducted from the total score. Each of the featured five-minute stories is judged by three judging teams (audience volunteers) on how well it is told, how well it is constructed, and how well the story explores, connects, and/or reveals some truth about the evening's theme, and how well it honors the time limit. The two highest-scoring storytellers will be given the opportunity to perform in a storytelling event at the end of the year.
For the inaugural event, the theme is "Coincidence." Storytellers should craft a five-minute story about coincidence: Lost connections rekindled, meeting again in strange or familiar places, moments of random and awe-inspiring symmetry of events. Tales of how random events sometimes take on powerful meaning.
Thyssen and Gitterman recommend that storytellers have a great first line to grab the audience's attention. Stories should not be memorized, but it can be helpful to memorize a first and last line, so storytellers know how to begin and where they want their stories to land. Make the ending simple and clear so as to not lose the story's focus and impact.
Storytellers should be sure to know why they are telling the story, why it is important to them, and what it is about. Storytellers are encouraged to practice their stories before bringing them to the slam. By practicing their stories on family, friends, and inanimate objects, they will feel much more confident on stage. The better you know your story, the better it will come across to the audience and the judges.
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