More than 10 years ago Shelley Hulce began to gather fellow fans of The Moth podcast for Story Slams. Story Slams are similar to Poetry Slams but a bit more structured. The premise was simple. People sharing true stories, in person, unscripted and live. For more than a decade a small group of storytellers have been meeting in coffee shops, libraries and bars in and around Dayton.
In February I traveled to an official Moth event in Louisville to watch how the event is produced. I was pleasantly suprised to see that more than 300 people came out to a venue to listen to great stories.
First some background:
The Moth organization was founded in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green in New York City. Green wanted to recreate those sultry summer evenings in his native Georgia, when moths were attracted to the light on the porch where he and his friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales. He began to host events in his apartment, then in bars, and now in theatres across NYC and hosted around the world.
The Moth story slam rules are simple. True Story. Told in the first person. Without notes and told live. Each month the Moth hosts story slams and the events are centered on a theme. Storytellers come prepared with a story on theme and put their name in a hat.
I was chose to share a story in Louisville in February and was selected that nights Story Slam winner. I knew I had to create a similar event in Dayton. This month the Dayton Story Slamm kicks off with Stories of Failure at Wiley’s Comedy Joint in the Oregon District. Storytellers should come prepared with a 5 minute story on the topic of Failure. 10 names will be chosen to share their stories and judges will score each story. The winner leaves with $50 cash and title, Dayton Story Slam Champion!
Judges will be looking for the following in each story:
Does the story have a beginning, middle and ending?
Was there a hook to the story, did it grab the audiences attention?
Was it near the time limit of 5 minutes.
Was the story related to the theme.
You don’t need to be a storyteller to attend or to enjoy the evening. If you are a fan of The Moth Radio Hour, Radio Lab podcast, Snap Judgement show or this American Life on NPR, you will enjoy the pace and entertainment that only live storytelling provides.
Admission is $5.00 and the bar will be open. Stop in and tell a story or sit back and enjoy a few of Dayton’s best sharing theirs.
Details on the Story Slamm Dayton Facebook page.