Audiences are drawn to stories, as moths are to a flame
This week I attended Leap of Faith, The Moth storytelling event at the Union Chapel in London. For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Moth or what they are about, the premise is purely true stories told live. Originating in Georgia, USA, founder George Dawes Green and his friends would gather on their porches on summer evenings and tell stories as the moths flocked to the lights. Hence, the group started calling themselves The Moths. As George moved to New York and started telling stories from his living room, The Moth quickly picked up speed, moving into cafes and clubs around the city. Now nearly 20 years later The Moth hosts slams in many countries worldwide, has a weekly podcast and produces developed storytelling evenings such as the one I attended this week.
I have been a keen follower of The Moth, reading their book of transcribed stories and a regular listener of their podcast. But watching the stories live this week got me thinking. This was such a pure and ultimate performance and arguably the actor in its best guise; as storyteller. But these people weren’t actors, they were ordinary people or namely in this case, a pharmacist, sports journalist, novelist, comedian and engineer. All the stories told were true, yet they were all performed. The elements of storytelling were at a high which made them all the more compelling to watch and listen to.
As actors, telling the story is the basis of how we engage our audiences, how we get into a monologue, how we make a character believable. We have to at first get into the story ourselves (whatever that may be) and then convince our audience to do likewise.
Perhaps we could all take something from The Moth and getting back to the basics of what makes acting and engaging audiences so wonderful. So the next time you are preparing for a role or trying to get into a meaty script, think of George and The Moths on their porches simply telling stories about human experiences.
Since, as The Moth describes it, “Audiences are drawn to stories, as moths are to a flame”.
Hatty Evans - Marketing and Communications Manager at the Actors Centre
Click here to find out more about The Moth.
The Moth London story slams are held on the first Wednesday of every month at The Book Club.
The Moth in Union Chapel London.