Think of the phrase “hot mess.” Now think of time when your life has been a hot mess, or when you have listened–dutifully–as a friend told you about their hot mess. This was The Moth in a nutshell.
Although over three hundred people were packed into the room, with dozens standing in the back (including me), each story felt intimate and unrehearsed.
The first story, about one man’s ex-fiance that was 90% perfect, and 10% crazy whenever she drank, warmed us up for the night. Three teams of judges gave their scores after his five minute story, and the results were tallied on a white board at the front of the room. Just like the Olympics.
Satori Shakoor was the emcee for the night. The director of Twisted Storytellers in Detroit, I probably would have paid money just to see this woman perform. Between personal anecdotes, readings of the prompt the audience filled out, and reactions to the storytellers, Satori wove the night together in a way only a superior emcee can do. I think the best part about her was that she never made the night feel awkward, even when there were several potentially awkward moments.
Which brings me back to the stories. One young man decided to go backpacking in the middle of Alaska with friends. That went about as well as you think it would have gone. Another woman–only eighteen–talked about putting two cars out of commission on the way to an appointment. A local story pitted a good Samaritan against a Hawaiian-shirted thief.
The winner, and without a doubt the best performance of the night, came from a man with a metal plate in his collar bone that had to get an MRI. Although the story itself was not the best of the night, his skill in telling it had all the right twists, a gag that was repeated without being repetitive, and a final shock that turned into a happy ending.
Each story of the night was different, and even with the theme of “hot mess,” common denominators like alcohol and drugs only made it into a few of the ten stories of the night.
I was shocked and impressed that all of the storytellers spoke clearly and concisely. Some stories were better than others, yes, but not a single one of the stories was boring or overly lengthy. In fact, I wish at least one of them had kept going.