Storytelling and the Stage
“Let’s do an event with authors and improv,” I told my marketing consultant, friend, and incredible source of support, Zack James of Rebel Hill Consulting.
He looked at me askance. “How would that go?”
We brainstormed and came up with a structure – a panel discussion, hosted by me, followed by an improv show based on the content that emerged during the discussion. We still weren’t sure how it would go over but it sounded fun. Right?
I made a few phone calls and voila – Heidi Doheny Jay, author of Confessions of 400 Men, Helen W. Mallon, author of The Beautiful Name: Four Short Stories, and Lisa Kohn, co-author of The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes to Being the Leader You Want to Be and the writer of the soon-to- be-released memoir, To the Moon and Back: A Childhood Under the Influence were in! Now, for the improvisers. Luckily, I perform with a team of incredibly talented – and generous – improv comics each week and several of my Not Yet Rated teammates agreed to put on an after-panel show.
Only problem? Winter didn’t get our memo.
Hosting an event in March, neither Zack nor I were expecting to get slammed with a nor’easter. But we were. And, while cancelling due to weather was a let-down, we rallied.
Attendees understood. Only a few people asked for refunds because they weren’t available for our new, rescheduled date, but most of them were available and we kept trucking. Until our scheduled second date, and our second nor’easter. That’s right! Our second date was snowed out too and we had to reschedule again.
By the time April 4th (the THIRD date of what should’ve been our early-March event) finally arrived, we had a running joke around the Kismet offices that I was cursed. “No more hosting events for you,” my coworkers said. But, even though the day began with rain, it was clear on the morning of the 4th that the event would, indeed, be happening. Surging with excitement, and nervous anticipation, I headed to Kismet’s incredible second, Spring Arts location where, even though I’d visited before, I was blown away by the new space.
After I’d lugged High Point Café’s three delectable-looking trays of food from my car to the elevator, the other authors, the folks at Rebel Hill, Kismet’s staff and I went to work setting up for a night of food, wine, learning and laughter. Before long, we had built it. Now, the only questions were: Would they come? And, if they did, would they have as much fun as I’d originally hoped?
Good news! The night was even better than Zack and I had imagined. The authors were a perfect blend of vulnerable, witty and irreverent, sharing their experiences at writing and at life.
Heidi talked about interviewing 418 men and getting insights into their perspectives, Helen opened up about her family life and how it informs much of what she writes about, and Lisa shared advance anecdotes from her memoir, which I won’t reveal but which I encourage you to read, in September, when her book becomes available.
Then, I was joined by Stacie Lyons (same last name, no relation) and Kelly Conrad for a three-woman improv show during which we made fun of it all. I’m still laughing as I remember witty exchanges about silverware, cocaine, and finding friends on Craig’s List. (If none of that makes sense to you, you really had to be there…).
Everyone left feeling exhilarated and ready for more, which is a good thing because the second installment of this amazing event – a panel of sex, love, dating and relationship experts followed by an improv performance by the renowned Tongue & Groove – will happen on May 3rd.
And I’m convinced the weather will cooperate.
Hope to see you there!