Live Storytelling Thrives at The Trap Door
Oct16

Live Storytelling Thrives at The Trap Door

Get Directions When you hear someone tell a live story, you form a personal connection with them. Fort Wayne’s Ben Larson says, “you get an understanding of people that is rare these days, with everybody being so attached to social media. You just get a small glimpse of a person [on social media] and we’re so quick to make snap judgments without getting to know someone, where they’ve been, what’s in their mind. Storytelling helps alleviate that; people are now craving that instead of micro-doses of humanity. We’re 3D people with our own lives, our own back-stories.” Background Larson was an English major in college, and he’s always loved a good story. He became interested in storytelling as theatre after discovering podcasts like “The Moth,” “Risk” and “Snap Judgment.” In 2015, he decided to bring the idea to life in Fort Wayne with The Trap Door. It began with a one-off show, but then the concept was shelved for about a year. In the late summer/early fall of 2016, Larson decided to revive the project. When John Cheesebrew and Becca Bell came on board, the project really began to take off. These three have known each other for years. Larson had worked creatively with Cheesebrew before – they used to play together in the black metal band Fodalla. “John is a good sounding board, he’s brutally honest and he has great ideas,” said Larson. “Becca has been a writer forever and she has a stronger organizational aspect than John or [me]. Also, I knew she could contribute to the creative side. So we all had different sets of skills and they combined well.” Format The Trap Door does two different types of shows, alternating each month. There are story slams and showcase shows. The story slam is a contest. Anyone interested in sharing a story will put their name into a hat. Names are draw and each storyteller tells a five to ten minute story. There are two winners: one chosen by the audience, one by the judges. “We’ve been fortunate in that we haven’t had to worry about filling up time. Sometimes ten minutes before the show we’ll only have two names, but by the time the show starts we’ve gotten 15,” said Larson. In contrast, showcase shows are planned out ahead of time. The team will accept pitches in the form of a 100-word synopsis, and then they’ll choose the storytellers. They occasionally reach out to specific people, but that varies depending on the month. Storytellers will prep their stories ahead of time, working with Larson, Bell and Cheesebrew before the show. Then they decide on an...

Read More