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The Moth Showcases the Diversity of Human Experience


Public radio listeners are well familiar with the storytelling series, The Moth.  Its beginnings were modest, and in New York City – almost a storytelling version of the idea of house concerts.

Since then, it’s become an international phenomenon, with versions ranging from the raw, unexpurgated version to a more polished variety. 

"I find that in day-to-day living everyone holds their cards pretty close to their chest," says national podcast host for the Moth, Dan Kennedy. "Nobody wants to be too vulnerable. But here's this night of stories and of people getting on stage and just letting their guard down."

Since 1997 The Moth has told live stories without notes to audiences worldwide, each showcasing a different experience. Moth executive director and Milwaukee native Sarah Haberman notes that the process of choosing a storyteller is far more complicated than simply letting anyone tell a story that first comes to mind.

"We pick people that we know have extraordinary stories and we work with them," she says. "We have a whole creative team that works with storytellers. We have directors who will then go in and work very carefully like trimming a bonsai tree with the storytellers for a given evening."

It is the selection of stories and their presenters that keeps audiences compelled to listen, watch, or participate. Each story told follows a theme, creating an experience that mixes documentaries and theater. It is the component of a person telling their true experience that makes The Moth truly unique, and "really showcases the commonality and diversity of human experience," according to Haberman.

Dan Kennedy will be on-stage as MC for Eyewitness: The Moth in Milwaukee, September 16th at Turner Hall Ballroom.  The show features five storytellers, including well-known performer John McGivern.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.