• by Sarah Teach •
From the days of cave paintings through the Middle Ages and on to era of iPhone ubiquity, storytelling has remained a central part of human culture, even as our methods have changed. At the forefront of modern methods is The Moth, a New York-based organization dedicated to the art of storytelling. They produce a blend of onstage storytelling performances and those aided by technology such as radio shows and podcasts. On Monday, August 18, Theatre Workshop of Nantucket brings The Moth’s live show to the island.
“Audiences are drawn to the stories, like moths to a flame,” writes The Moth’s founder George Dawes Green, a poet and best-selling novelist. According to TheMoth.org, “[Green] wanted to recreate, in New York, the feeling of sultry summer evenings in his native Georgia, where he and his friends would gather on his friend Wanda’s porch to share spellbinding tales. There was a hole in the screen, which let in moths that were attracted to the light, and the group started calling themselves The Moths. The first New York Moth event was held in [Green’s] living room, but word spread fast, and the events soon moved to cafes and clubs throughout the city.”
Today, 17 years after The Moth’s launch, its storytellers cover a variety of ground, from the difficulties of being a young Mormon in NYC, to discovering the art of pickpocketing in New Orleans, to surviving a brutal, random act of gang violence. From TheMoth.org: “The Moth celebrates both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story, and The Moth’s directors work with each storyteller to find, shape and present it. 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. Moth stories dissolve socio-economic barriers, expose vulnerabilities, and quietly suggest ways to overcome challenges and see with new eyes.”
Hosting The Moth on Nantucket will be Rachel Dratch, who was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for seven seasons. Before that, she was on the Mainstage at Second City in Chicago for four years. She currently performs in Celebrity Autobiography at the Triad Theater. One of the evening’s storytellers is Taylor Negron, an accomplished standup comedian who starred in his own HBO special. He performs regularly across the United States and is one of the founding members of The UnCabaret, dubbed “the Mother show of Alternative Comedy” by the Wall Street Journal. Negron also works as a director, and created the award-winning PSA What Kind Of Planet Are We On?, selected as 2010’s Most Innovative Non-Profit YouTube video. He has appeared on a number of TV shows as well as in films such as Stuart Little, The Last Boy Scout, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Aristocrats and Punchline, alongside Sally Field and Tom Hanks. Another one of the evening’s storytellers is Bethany Van Delft, a founding member/producer of “Colorstruck: Women of Color in Comedy,” New England’s first and only women of color comedy showcase. She has been featured in the Boston Comedy Festival, New York Underground Comedy Festival, and The Greater Boston Alternative Comedy Festival and is a core member of the touring show “5 Funny Females.” She was a finalist in the inaugural Comedy Leagues at The 2010 Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and can currently be seen on Comedy Central Mobile’s “Funaticos.”
Come see these three funny folks and three more surprise guests at The Moth on Nantucket. The event will take place on Monday, August 18 at Bennet Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 at www.theatreworkshop.com.