I have always wanted to go to one of The Stoopstorytelling shows and when I heard this month's theme was "high school," I couldn't resist. Debuting in February 2006, The Stoop is a series that features seven story-tellers, who each get seven minutes to tell a true, personal story that revolves around that night's specific theme.
Past speakers have included writers, actors, musicians, teachers, and everyone in between. In addition to the seven stories, there are musical performances, comedic skits, and the entire show is put on for a live audience, as well as broadcast onWYPR. The variety-show style is reminiscent of Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion.
This past weekend Center Stage hosted three Stoop shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening, all revolving around the theme that tempted me so much: high school. I attended Saturday night's show and was blown away by the talent and creativity that took place on stage. Featured musicians included the keyboard-heavy cover band Egg Babies Orchestra, the ukulele-strumming Victoria Vox, and spoken-word/hip-hop duo The 5th L. All three groups provided a captivating soundtrack throughout the night. The show itself was hosted by Aaron Henkin, co-producer of WYPR's "The Signal," as well as The Stoop's two co-creators, Jessica Henkin (Aaron's wife) and Laura Wexler.
The high school theme was played up in every aspect, from the wardrobe (heavily '80s) to the music (Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" was a highlight). And of course, there were the stories. An English teacher from Friends School talked about polka dancing with a curmudgeonly physics teacher. A former Bryn Mawr School student discussed celebrating the first Earth Day.
A particularly hilarious tale came from a former high school football manager (read: water boy) who decided to stick a bee in his mouth during football practice. An experienced educator talked about his own high school experience of grieving while at boarding school. And a current performing artist talked about figuring out her identity in the school cafeteria. Three members of the audience were also picked at random to share their stories from high school—some scandalous, others profound.
Not only was the entire show entertaining as hell, but it made me, and I suspect the rest of the audience, realize that everybody has a story. And the ones about high school are particularly charming.
If you want to hear these stories for yourselves, the show will be broadcast on WYPR (88.1 FM) on June 11 and 18 at noon and 7 p.m. And you can always tune into Henkin's "Stories From the Stoop" Saturdays at 8 p.m. on WYPR. The next Stoop show will actually be free, as it's a part of Artscape, and will take place July 17, from 4-6 p.m., in MICA's Brown Center.
[Image: courtesy of stoopstorytelling.com]