Competition in the Oral Tradition: Seattle StorySlam, November 20

Posted on November 18, 2015, 11:26 am
3 mins

This Friday, head to the back room of St. Mark’s Cathedral for a different kind of sermon: The Moth StorySlam, where local amateur storytellers are allotted five minutes to tell a unique, engaging and completely true tale. The Moth is an NYC-based organization focused on the art of storytelling, and its various programs give a stage to those with an experience to share and a knack for the spoken word. The Moth has many offshoots and events, but their StorySlam program presents local audiences with a built-in community and a completely unpredictable evening of pathos, comedy and a refreshing dose of oral tradition.

At the beginning of a StorySlam evening, would-be storytellers–essentially anyone with a semi-prepared yarn–drop their name in a jar, and let the storytelling gods determine whether they will be performing that evening. After names are drawn and the program is set, the structure follows that of a poetry slam, complete with time limits and judges, a ten-point grading scale for each story, and a clear winner of storytelling fame at the end of the night. To add to the friendly competition, each slam has a theme: this Friday, all stories must somehow fall under the umbrella of “Gifted,” and it’s just as likely that we’ll hear about someone’s tenth birthday present as an inherited knack for playing ping-pong.

From The Moth website:

Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.

Seattle StorySlams are generally bimonthly and alternate in location between Fremont Abbey Arts and Bloedel Hall at St. Mark’s Cathedral. Check The Moth’s Events Page for details and upcoming shows. If you’re curious about what makes a successful tale, check out videos of some of The Moth’s favorite stories, from Mainstage and StorySlam events alike: I’d recommend Micah Truran’s The Lucky Red Tie and Jessi Klein’s The Dress.


Seattle StorySlam from The Moth

When: Friday, November 20. 6:45 PM doors, 8 PM start

 Where: Bloedel Hall at St. Mark’s Cathedral (entrance in back), (1245 10th Ave E)

Claire Biringer is a Seattle-based music lover, educator and writer. She holds an MA in Music History from University of Washington, where her primary research involved contemporary opera and its social implications. She enjoys using music and writing to build communities and broaden minds.