This week has been busy to say the least! There has been not one, but two Moth shows; the usual StorySLAM, plus the Moth Mainstage show, meaning that it’s been a week of long days and late nights for everyone, but most certainly one of the most exciting weeks so far. Let me tell you a bit about it.
To supplement the ongoing process of gathering material for my project, again I found myself b-rolling to record interviews with the audience and tellers of this week’s StorySLAM: Chemistry. This theme brought stories ranging from old chemistry classes in school to love and relationships, with the addition of a less predictable story from Kit, the other Moth Production Intern besides Polly, who told of his experiences working on oil rigs around the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010. All in all, a very thought-provoking Tuesday evening!
What followed on Wednesday was this month’s Moth Mainstage, with the theme Eyewitness: Stories from the Front. The Mainstage is the Moth’s flagship show where storytellers who have worked with Moth producers and directors to craft their stories into powerful ten minute narratives, allowing the finer details and most poignant moments to be best conveyed to the audience.
Held in the beautifully decadent and adorned New York Player’s club, this show is presented to an audience seated around elegant cocktail tables and ornate chairs – a far cry from the busy bustle of people shuffling for an extra inch of floorspace on which to stand at the consistently popular StorySLAMs. Having said that, the atmosphere is, from there, relatively similar. That familiar excitement and intrigue that brings Moth events to life is ever-present, and with good reason. The night’s storytellers included a mother, Carly, who after a hard childhood herself, endeavoured to send her baby to be adopted by a secure, supportive couple, but by no means escaping the regret or emotional suffering that followed giving her own child away. This story was so moving, leaving the entire audience moist-eyed and amazed at the strength of this woman. Another stunning story of the evening was from Damien Echols, who shared his harrowing experience of years in prison after being convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, bringing to light the severity of injustice and the damage that simple lies and rumours can bring about.
It is only after going to the Mainstage that I fully, truly understand the power of allowing stories such as these to be shared, and the importance and uniqueness of the Moth in allowing this to happen. Seeing how all the little day-to-day tasks of the office come together to create such a powerful event has made me focus even more on all the work that I’ve been doing here. For example, one of my duties in the morning is to check the Pitch Hotline, a phone line directly found on the Moth website that allows anyone to be able to phone in and record a one minute pitch of their story. Each day, I listen to the Pitch Hotline recordings for stories that have the potential to make it to the Mainstage, taking down people’s details and summarising their story for future reference. Carly’s story was one that was picked up on the Pitchline just a few months ago, and hers was possibly one of the most powerful stories I’ve heard here.
On Saturday, I had the chance to go to a small event being held in theapartment of one of the Moth’s old friends. The Gnat, essentially a mini-Moth, was a gathering of people with a set-up not dissimilar to that found at a StorySLAM, only here there is no competition element, and the strict rules on a five-six minute story are wavered in favour of more meandering anecdotes over a microphone, creating a generally more casual, but no less enjoyable evening of stories. It was really great to see how the concept of the Moth translates to a different setting in this way.
Other highlights of my hectic week included…
* Witnessing a performance by the BTK band at their insanely… diverse show, featuring improvised rock songs inspired by live storytellers of the evening.
* Sushi at Jin’s with Polly and Bonnie.
* Going to the Top of the Rockefeller building with Polly to watch the sunset over Manhattan.
* Cake from the Magnolia Bakery. Yum.
* Going with Catherine to see the New York Philharmonic Orchestra play in Central Park on a warm Friday evening (complete with fireflies).
* Meeting up with my friend Joe who is currently touring the US with his university choir. Venturing uptown to see them sing the gorgeous Cathedral of St John the Divine was a real treat.
* And….there was a HUGE moth in the corridor to my apartment.