Dan Kennedy estimates he listened to about 40 stories last week. He’s been involved with the storytelling phenomena known as The Moth for the past 13 years, but he says he’s often moved by what he hears.
“I’ll be sitting next to our producer, Jenifer Hixon, beside the stage, and I’ll still hear stories every night that just make me poke her in the ribs and go, ‘Oh my God,'” he says.
Kennedy hosts The Moth podcast, which is consistently one of iTunes’ top 10 most downloaded podcasts, and he hosts many of the live events that the organization presents in various cities. The Moth has showcased some of its brightest touring artists with its mainstage show in Boston, but to-night is the first time a Moth StorySLAM has come here.
With the StorySLAM, interested attendees put their names in a hat and 10 will be called onstage to tell a five-minute story within the night’s given theme. Tonight’s theme is chemistry. Tellers also are not allowed to use notes or props.
“I often describe it as a cross between an audio book and rehab,” says Kennedy, “or between therapy and public radio. It’s amazingly and strangely affirming. I’ve made this joke probably too many times on stage, but there’s this certain point in the evening where I just wish we all lived together. I just wish all 400 of us had a huge A-frame somewhere in the mountains and we’d just move forward now in this life together.”
The beauty of The Moth is that it’s often ordinary people telling extraordinary stories, although sometimes a well-known teller will take the stage.
“I do love the fact that life is kind of a weirdly level playing field when it comes to telling stories,” says Kennedy. “It does not have to be that you were in this amazingly incredible, spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime situation. That’s the case sometimes, but it doesn’t seem to be a common denominator in a mix of stories, which is captivating and I think is cool.”
The Moth isn’t the only storytelling game in town. A few other places in the Hub where you can share true life tales:
Massmouth: Massmouth hosts several slams each month, including one tonight at Club Passim (47 Palmer St., Cam-bridge). The atmosphere is convivial and the time between slams is brief enough that if you aren’t called up to the mic right away, you’ll be able to give it a shot sooner than later.
Storyspace: Tellers and listeners gather every Tuesday night at Out of the Blue Art Gallery (106 Prospect St., Cambridge). As New England’s longest running storytelling series, this organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. www.storyspace.org
War Virgin:?Laura Cannon hosts this event on the final Wednesday of each month at The Living Room (101 Atlantic Ave., Boston). Based on themes she provides, the stories can get raunchy. For more info, find War Virgin on Facebook.
If you go
The Moth StorySLAM
Monday, 8 p.m
2 Arrow St., Cambridge