If you love telling a good story or hearing one (and really who doesn't like that?), then a night spent at The Monti is definitely the perfect way to start off your 2012.
In 2008, The Monti was born when creator Jeff Polish began gathering people from all walks of life to tell their stories. Debuting in Chapel Hill to a sold-out crowd, five brave souls were invited to take the stage.
The show has gained a huge following since. Often held in Durham, The Monti has become such a success Polish, a one-time biology teacher, has been able to start curating it full time.
The format for The Monti is simple:
- Storytellers are invited in advance.
- Stories must revolve around a central theme ( i.e. "Making It," Fear)
- Stories must be true.
- Storytellers can't use note cards and must adhere to the 12-minute time limit.
When I was a guest storyteller last year, the theme was "Greatest Moments." I told a story about meeting and interviewing B.B. King. I went over the time limit and a hippo began making hippo sounds. Pretty hilarious!
Standing on that stage can be intimidating. The spotlight blinds you so you can barely make out the faces in the crowd. Storytellers often go to a raw place emotionally to relive a moment that was deeply important to them. Stories range from humorous to heartbreaking, but you always leave there feeling connected to your fellow man.
The Monti StorySLAM debuted in 2009. The format for these shows are a little different:
- The themes are publicized ahead of time.
- Anyone who has a story that goes with that theme can buy a ticket. (Make sure you practice your 5-minute story before you get to the show.)
- At the show, you fill out a form stating if you have a story to tell or not. Some people just go to hear the stories.
- The host will pick the names of eight people with stories. They each immediately go up and tell their stories.
- One story is named the winner of the night.
Does The Monti or the Monti StorySLAM sound like fun?
Tickets ($10) go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 16, online for the next StorySLAM to be held Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Motorco. Music Hall. in Durham. The theme is "Fit." (I suggest buying tickets early because they tend to sell out for Slams and the traditional Monti.)
The next Monti show is at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro. The theme is "Triumphs," and the event will also include the Hippo Awards honoring the best stories of the past year. Ticket information has not been released yet, but they will be $20 each.