Portland Story Theater Urban Tellers Show

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Stories! I’ve decided no more mucking around with the storytelling. I’ve been studying in some online courses about how to shape and tell stories for an audience. But you can’t get feedback if your teacher is just an online video. In honor of the very social, communal nature of storytelling, I signed up for a live class with Portland Story Theater. I’m in a room with other humans, something I don’t do very often. Part of the commitment of the class is the opportunity to dress up and perform a story live for a gigantic audience at a real theater after only six classes! So that’s what I’m doing. I have my outfit picked out, but my story is still in shambles. That said, this one is very special. (The outfit. But the story will also be special when I figure out how to tell it!)

Lynne Duddy and Lawrence Howard who run Portland Story Theater have been performing and teaching storytelling for years. Combining their expertise and amazingly good humor with the good vibes of the class is a really rewarding experience. If you’re in the Portland area, I recommend this class. Just note that the classes are held in a very physically inaccessible space. So if you have physical access needs, better talk to them before registering. They’re interested in accommodations. In fact, the whole group does silent applause now because I can’t take the sound of clapping near me. What started as an accommodation has turned out to be enjoyable for many people in the group. We rub our hands together very fast instead of banging them together. This creates a pleasing heat in the hands, and people say they feel energized after this non-clapping applause. It’s not the first time a disability accommodation is delightful to people who don’t need it, and it won’t be the last. Disability, if anything, is adaptability and innovation.

The story I’m working on is part of my personal and professional challenge to find and share stories from within the disability community that don’t center around describing disability or recovering from it. That’s about all that’s expected from the brain injury community. And so I defy that expectation by challenging people to take real interest in other parts of our lives. These parts are shaped and colored by disability, but that’s different from centering the impairment in every story.

I often encounter this mixed message out in the world where people are frequently praised for “not letting their disability define them” and yet the most common questions many of us get about our lives is “What’s your disability? How did it happen? Have you tried this cure I heard of?” Blargh! I can’t make heads or tails of this!

To watch me and my five glorious classmates share some stories, come on over to the Portland Story Theater’s Urban Tellers show

Saturday, November 14, 2015
Doors open and drinks served at 7:00 pm
Show starts at 8:00 pm
Alberta Abbey
126 NE Alberta St.
$15 in advance, $18 at the door (21 and older only)
Venue is wheelchair accessible (no other access available at this time)
Free off-street parking
Near the #6, #72, and #44 bus lines

RSVP and keep up with announcements on the Urban Tellers Facebook event page.

Listen to audio recordings of past performances at PDXStoryTheater on SoundCloud.com (not transcribed) and watch videos (not captioned) of past performances on the PDX Story Theater YouTube channel.

Hope to see you there!