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[Special Event] SpeakEazy Storytelling Open Mic
[Special Event] SpeakEazy Storytelling Open Mic

Tue, Dec 05


Upper Jay Art Center

[Special Event] SpeakEazy Storytelling Open Mic

Time & Location

Dec 05, 2023, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Upper Jay Art Center, 12198 Rte 9n, Upper Jay, NY 12941, USA

About the Event

Join us in the Lounge for an evening of storytelling! Come and share, or just listen as community members and visitors from all walks of life, backgrounds and orientations come together and connect through the sharing of personal stories in a safe, supportive environment free from pressure or judgment.

No experience necessary.

Any story is perfect: from your life story to what you saw on the bus last week. Family stories, funny stories, heartbreaking stories – anything you want to share. Participants are welcome to tell from the head and heart, or to bring paper up with them if they need it.
When your name is called, the stage is yours for seven minutes.

The Open Mic is hosted by Mac MacDevitt and Gabrielle Schutz.

$5 Suggested Donation at the door (to support UJAC and Bell Fire Arts Collective)


SCENES: Think in terms of scenes: distinct locations where something happens. Scenes distinguish a story from an essay, or op-ed, or sermon. Let your audience do the meaning-making. Guide them to it, with your edits and presentation, but don't unpack it for them too much.

STAKES: Make it clear that you are the main character. This is about you: a true story as you experienced it. And you can leave out anything you don't want to share or that doesn’t serve your story. No one is going to fact-check you.

Start in the action and set up the stakes: Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild, about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, begins not with her buying a map, or all the events that led up to the hike, but instead, 38 days into the hike, just after one of her hiking boots has fallen irretrievably down a ridge.

Write/craft your story to be delivered, not just read.

Use dialogue as much as possible, especially to tell the audience things that would otherwise be exposition.

Count on your voice and delivery to do the adjectival heavy-lifting. No need to say, "he stammered..." if you can deliver it, "H-he-hello!" And you don’t need adverbs! Really! Basically none!

Think about what your story is about (themes), beyond what happens (plot, facts). This helps keep you streamlined and edit out the stuff that may be good, but isn't necessary.

These are just a few basic rules of thumb (and there are always good reasons to break rules, so feel free). Especially if this is your first story, think about how tips might help give shape and stakes to your story, take what's helpful, and ignore the rest.

Thank you to Rebecca Anderson of Gilead Chicago for many of these tips.

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