This year, the festival is having a Night of Jewish Storytelling, where up to 10 community members will be able to share their original and true stories that celebrate the absurdity and hilarity of the Jewish experience.
“We’re really excited because it’s an opportunity to showcase some of the wonderful, hilarious, strange, and absurd stories that are out there in the community,” said Humor Festival Director Jonathan Gershberg. “Everyday people have lives and recollections that are imbued with humor.”
People who are interested in participating have to write a brief, 200-word summary of their story idea and submit to Gershberg by Dec. 7. He and professional storyteller Allison Broeren will select readers; the winning readers will attend two required workshops led by Broeren to help fine-tune pieces in time for Monday, Jan. 27 performance.
Broeren said that personal narrative storytelling is very popular right now, with Minnesota Public Radio being one of the hundreds of public radio stations that air The Moth Radio Hour each week.
“When coaching for shows like this, we want everyone to be true to the experience they had,” she said. “People need help to realize that their story is a story people want to hear.”
Broeren, who is the owner of Strike Theatre in northeast Minneapolis, said the key is to have a specific focus and experience to use.
“You don’t want them to tell universal truths, but things specific to their experience,” she said, adding that the two workshops will focus on structure or story details. “If you only have 10 minutes to tell a story that takes place over years, it can be difficult. We’ll take out the things we don’t need to know to get a cohesive story.”
Being part of the Humor Festival, Broeren will help bring the humor out of stories, but also help on the performance side, to make sure the performers aren’t talking too fast.
“The cool thing is everyone can do this.’ Broeren said. “We all have stories. We just need the guidance of how to put that on stage.”
To be considered to be in the Night of Jewish Storytelling, email your 200-word summary to Jonathan Gershberg at [email protected].