True tales to be told at Story Slam

True tales to be told at Story Slam

SEQUIM — Each truth-teller has five minutes — up to 300 seconds to light out on a journey, a word trip that could shock, uplift and reveal.

This is the North Olympic Peninsula’s first International Story Slam, a competition for those who would tell true tales ripped from their own lives. Theme: “Crossing the Line,” any way you like. The slam itself is a border-crosser, bringing together tellers from the United States and Canada at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave., on Thursday.

Showtime is 7 p.m. and tickets are $10, or $8 for Story People of Clallam County and Olympic Theatre Arts members. To reserve in advance, visit www.OlympicTheatreArts.org. Remaining tickets, if any, will be sold at the door.

“You never know what you’re going to hear, and in five minutes or less,” said Anne Rutherford, the Portland, Ore., teller who’s come many times to Peninsula storytelling events, but never to a slam. She gave one hint about her story this time: “Who knew beets could be the clue to personal liberation?”

Rutherford will compete alongside Rebecca Hom from Olympia; Norm Brecke, also from Portland; Allison Cox, a likewise seasoned teller from Vashon Island; Noreen Murphy from Victoria; and Devon More, Marylee Stephenson and Maia Gibb of Vancouver, B.C.

Audience members also have a shot at the title. Those who want to step up and tell a five-minute, true, personal story are encouraged to arrive early. They’ll put their names in a hat, and then mistress of ceremonies Ingrid Nixon will draw two.

Prize of pure glory

Those two will jump into the competition, and a panel of judges — Port Angeles storyteller Cherie Trebon, actor-director-OTA member Larry Harwood and writer-OTA board member Heidi Hansen — will choose the winner.

The prize, said Nixon, is pure glory. No cash.

Story slams like this have turned into popular throw-downs around the country. Nixon, a Sequim-based storyteller, won a grant for this one from the National Storytelling Network (www.StoryNet.org) and found an enthusiastic co-producer in Olympic Theatre Arts.

“OTA embraced the opportunity,” Nixon said, adding she hopes the Sequim venue’s location between Port Angeles and Port Townsend will draw people from across the North Olympic Peninsula.

The Story People of Clallam County, which holds monthly story swaps, a Liars’ Contest in June and the October Forest Storytelling Festival, all in Port Angeles, and The Flame, a story group in British Columbia, are also collaborators in the slam.

Slam competitor Hom urges people to attend Thursday — and maybe catch some inspiration.

“The best thing is, you’ll think of stories of your own … in your own life,” she said.

‘A special man’

Hom’s personal story will carry her back 40 years and across an ocean. In five minutes, she’ll go to France, where she “met … a special man.”

All told by 10 tellers, the competition will add up to just 50 minutes of actual stories — “but in that short time, you will hear about heartache, hear about pain [and] hear yourself laugh,” added Brecke. “[It] might even make you think about something you haven’t thought about in awhile.

“Come, listen, see what happens.”

True tales to be told at Story Slam
True tales to be told at Story Slam
True tales to be told at Story Slam
True tales to be told at Story Slam

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