Live Storytelling: An ancient, compelling platform

The more that I think about live storytelling, the more I’m impressed with it.

Every story that I’m engaged with on a daily basis has been finely tweaked, edited, trimmed and polished with days or weeks of attention.

Yet there are people out there who participate in live, oral storytelling, who speak to an audience without notes or facts, and tell a story beautifully.

I’m truly fascinated with these speakers who can deliver compelling, gripping stories in their presentations. It isn’t an easy thing to do; more of an art form than anything else.

The Moth Radio Hour

I came across this type of storytelling while listening to NPR. I tuned into a new station, and they introduced me to a new program called Moth Radio Hour, an anthology of stories told by speakers to a live audience at a theater hall. I can honestly tell you, I never remember the drive home on the days it broadcasts. My full audible attention was directed towards the speakers. It truly is an experience.

In any case, the program would be extraordinary to see live, a romantic and thoughtful alternative to the movies or a play. Many of these events take place in New York City, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. If you are ever in town, be sure to hit up a show. Here’s the Moth Radio Hour’s scheduled events.

One speaker in particular, Edgar Oliver, with his haunting voice and presence, is a must listen. His true story account of his life growing up in Savannah, Georgia, with his sister, who both want desperately to escape the grasps of their paranoid and dementia-ridden mother’s controlling grasps.

This type of ancient storytelling has stood the test of time, and the power of these stories tell me that something about the medium is everlasting, so long as humans are capable of communicating.

While live storytelling isn’t a perfect science, and probably isn’t a recommended way for journalists to get their messages across, I think it ought to deserve an immense amount of respect from any kind of storyteller. Broadcast or print, fiction or non-fiction. These stories are masterful in their own way, and they are in no short supply.