Glasses clink all around you, while whispers fade in and out like waves as you sit at a table in a dark room. Before you is an empty stage with a single microphone casting off reflections from an overhead light. Soon, the whispers lower in volume and a man walks on stage. From somewhere off in space, a deep voice says the man’s name, clapping comes and goes and then it begins.
“The story I want to tell you about tonight is a simple story.”
It could start any various ways: “Once upon a time,” “In the beginning,” “In 1904, there was a barber living…” No matter how it starts, it’s a story, and it’s the one art form that every culture—and people of all ages—loves. Stories help us make sense of our lives. They help us learn. They entertain. And anyone can tell a story.
The Moth is a place where professional and amateur storytellers appear before audiences eager to emphasize and be entertained by tales of love, woe and surprise. This month, our feature profile is Joan Firestone, executive director of The Moth, who says that stories reach you where you are.
“The difference between theater and storytelling, in a way, is that you go into a theater with a somewhat critical eye,” she said. “You go into The Moth and you totally empathize. A storyteller may falter, cry or whatever; somebody has referred to it as ‘Like the whole audience holding hands under the table,’ because there’s a oneness to the [events].”
The Moth hosts events all across the U.S., has its own radio show on more than 200 stations and offers several videos on its YouTube channel.
Below is one of those videos. It features Adam Gopnik telling a funny and endearing story about a relationship with his teenage son, social media technology and misunderstanding what LOL means.
Do you have a favorite Moth story? If so, please send us the link. We’re always in the mood for a good story.