After an exciting week of rehearsals, The MothShop took the stage Friday morning at Marshall High School’s Renaissance Arts Academy. For those who don’t know, The Moth has a few rules. The story must be true. You can’t memorize it or use notes or props. It’s just the teller, the mic, and the truth.
So how do the storytellers prepare? During the week before, The Moth producers Sarah Austin Jenness and Maggie Cino walked three intrepid students through The Moth’s story coaching method. Students told their stories several times, while the producers offered notes to keep the telling fresh and alive. At one point, Sarah Austin Jenness explained that The Moth doesn’t memorize or use notes because these create barriers. The Moth’s producers want storytellers to relate primarily to the story and the audience, not the task of reciting something they’ve memorized.
If the results from Friday are anything to go by, this is a pretty sound method. The student storytellers enthralled their classmates with the pain of losing a parent or a home, as well as the confidence gained from sharing a powerful poem with an audience. Emcee and Portland author Jon Raymond noted that these stories, as powerful as they were, were still only three out of hundreds of stories in that one room on campus. That leaves plenty of work for next time.