For the past few months, I have been away from blogging; I have been working on developing a one-man show for an upcoming fringe festival. This will be a collection of personal stories that I have been writing over the years and waiting for the right opportunity to tell them. That time is now.
During my two year stay in Portland, I gained a greater appreciation of storytelling, particularly reality telling. With several venues dedicated to all types of personal impactful stories, such as The Portland Storytellers Guild, Portland Story Theater, Backfence PDX, The Moth, and Mystery Box Storytelling there are several outlets to tell the once taboo, forbidden and shameful tales. The key I believe in telling such material is for one to have overcome their embarrassing escapade and tell it in a way to make an emotional connection to the audience. I find that one of the most successful ways of doing this is through laughter. Because once you have found the humor and vulnerability in the outrageous, you can relay it to your audience in a way which they can laugh at themselves too, thereby winning them over.
For years I have been primarily a traditional teller of African and African American stories. However, as the years passed, there has been a yearning to tell more personal and intimate stories. So, I began to look back at different times in my life where I have goofed up, made a huge mistake, or simply acted out of character. And as I began to write down my thoughts and make a list, I discovered that there is plenty of fodder for material.
What helped me in this process was recalling an assignment we had in graduate school at East Tennessee State University. In one of our classes, Acting for Storytellers and Storytelling for Actors, we were tasked with preparing a stand-up comedy routine about ourselves. This was intimidating at first, but then as I began to look at who I was, I focused on what would make me funny such as my name, my race, being born in the south, and stereotypes. As a result, I have since taken material from that comedy routine and developed a well-received comedic story which will also be a part of my one man show.
My goal is to share an autobiographical fringe of personal stories and experiences that will be funny, enlightening, educational and entertaining. I am very excited about this new venture as well as the direction for my storytelling and can’t to share this new show with story fans and story listeners. So, stay tuned for more details.
Chetter M. Galloway