Verbal storytelling might seem like a lost virtue in our times - given all the qualities it demands from the Twitter and snap judgment generation - but The Moth comes as a reassurance of sorts.
The storytelling initiative, started by novelist George Dawes Green in New York, offers a platform for people to narrate stories from their lives to a live audience. These stories are then uploaded on the site in video and audio formats. If you have been yearning for something similar in India, here's the good news. Tall Tales, started by Michael Burns and Kaneez Surka, is in the process of forming a similar forum where people can be encouraged to speak about their own lives before an audience.
After its first show turned out to be a huge hit, Tall Tales has now come up with the second installment. A motley group comprising researchers, actors, designers and bankers with varied cultural interests and backgrounds is slated to put up a performance in a Mumbai suburb on Saturday.
"We have seven stories- two pure dramatic ones, two drama/comedy hybrids, two comedic ones, and one kind of comedic/scary combo. They're fantastic. Closing the show will be well-known television and stage actor Mukul Chadda telling us about frantically searching Tokyo for a place to throw out his trash," says Burns.
Reiterating what is considered the hallmark of the die-hard romantic, Burns says that an anecdote from the life of a complete stranger might have the potential to be a life-changing experience at its best and a delightful distraction at its least.
"In fact, you could argue that a stranger's story has the greater capacity to make an impact on the listener because they're not receiving it with any preconceived notions about that person. I sincerely believe that nothing in this world is more incredible, surprising, and full of moments of sheer impossibility made possible than real life. That's why we tell true stories. And since all of us share the experience of living, we are all inherently eligible to participate in Tall Tales," explains Burns.
Since Tall Tales is still in its nascent stages, a lot of thought goes into selecting the speakers who then practice before the performance.
However, the organisation also invites submissions from people on their website. If a story is compelling enough, Burns and his team invite the concerned person for the show. "Every day I receive at least one submission sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I like the story and it's well-crafted and compelling, I share it with the others on my small evaluation team. If we all like I'll invite the person to an audition. This is important because the person also needs to be able to tell their story- it can't be a situation where they can write it down but not deliver it. So we're asking quite a bit," says Burns.
An encore performance of the June 7th Studio X Tall Tales show will be staged at the Pint Room in Bandra (located right next to the Great Punjab - 266 Linking Rd.) Tickets are Rs. 100 at the door. More information will be available on their website www.mumbaistories.com.
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Updated Date: Jun 28, 2013 12:10:44 IST