I’m Hosting a What?

At 5pm on Sunday, August 7th, I’ll be hosting a massmouth MouthOff near the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common.  When I tell people about it, I pretty much always get the following reaction:

“You’re hosting a what?”

Let’s start with some definitions. massmouth is Massachusetts’ own storytelling organization. (They like to say, “New York has ‘The Moth,’ and Boston has ‘The Mouth.’)

As the mug on my very messy work shelf reminds me every day, they also like to say, "Because you have a life, you have a story."

During the school months, they hold Story Slams in restaurants and bars in the Boston area. There’s a small entry fee to get in, and when you want to tell a story you just drop your name into a box.  If your name is chosen, you have just a minute or two to gather your wits and walk up on that stage.

Stories are limited to five minutes. For a motormouth like me, this is a challenge. I never realized how many hours of my friends’ lives I must have wasted over the years, telling and re-telling the same anecdotes.

Every night has a theme, so you can’t just tell the same story over and over. There are judges, and the winners get to go on to the semis and the finals. The grand prize at the end of the year is definitely worth all that practice. For the past two years, it’s been a week’s villa rental in Tuscany.

MouthOffs are a different animal. First, they’re “stories in unexpected places,” which means we just find a nice spot outside and that’s that. There’s still the five minute time limit and a theme, but no judges and no prizes. I’d never attended one before last week, and since mine is coming up…I figured time was of the essence.

First, I had to find the group in Christopher Columbus Park on the edge of the North End.

Lots of mouths. Get it?

No worries. The massmouth banner is pretty hard to miss!

Host Alan White had never attended a MouthOff either. In fact, other than a storytelling workshop, Alan had never attended any massmouth event. He’s a super-busy actor and performer type. Anyway, if he was nervous, it sure didn’t show. I hope I look this confident on the 7th!

He's oozing confidence! Can someone tell me how to do that?

The whole thing was wonderfully chill, especially for a storytelling event with Fire for the theme.  (Chill…Fire….Get it?)  There was no worry about finding a good seat, just plop down on a section of blanket.  And, no worries about putting your name in a box.  If you want to tell a story, just nod at Alan or massmouth’s Andrea Lovett, and it happens!

I got pics of everyone but myself.  Story of my life…

This wasn't everyone...just a few of my favorite photos.

After about an hour and a half, we were done!  A lovely, low stress evening of stories and laughs.

So, now you really want to come on the 7th, right?  The theme is “All’s Well That Ends Well,” but I’m going to open it up to any story inspired or enlightened by any line from Shakespeare.  Just think of the possibilities…

Is all really well that ends well?

Doth the lady protest too much?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

Does the course of true love ever run smooth(ly…I guess Shakespeare missed the lesson on adverbs)?

Have you ever considered giving up your kingdom for a horse?  😉

These and other questions will be answered…I hope.  If you’re lucky (and if there aren’t too many kids around) I’ll even tell you the story of the time when I accidentially caused some serious ado about nothing while performing Much Ado About Nothing

See ya’ll there!


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