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Our nation’s capital is just lousy with The Moth-style storytelling nowanights—-meaning no-notes oral raconteur-ery wherein exaggeration and compression are allowed, but fabrication is not. So what makes The Politics of Science, an eight-hander show at the Artisphere tonight any different?
Well, a few things: It’s a coproduction of a homegrown outfit, Storyleague DC, with The Story Collider, a Manhattan-based operation specializing in tales about science. Which means the talent pool producers Ben Lillie and SM Shrake have assembled is not strictly local, but a blend of Washingtonians, New Yorkers, and even a Los Angelino.
While Shrake says Storyleague’s three prior shows have sometimes had a unifying theme and sometimes simply been jalopies built from whatever were the best stories the performers had ready at the time, tonight’s show focuses on one of the central battles of contemporary times. But the “politics” in the title doesn’t denote only electoral politics, Shrake points out—-the stories might address office politics or interpersonal or sexual politics, too. You need to show up at the Artisphere in Rosslyn tonight at 8 p.m. to find out!
Shrake, who earns his living working for an ad agency, founded Storyleague in June 2010, and maintains a spreadsheet of about 90 people, some 50 of whom he considers serious members: “Some people are the starters and some are on the back bench, but everyone is going to get a chance to play,” he says.
Performers have had the benefit of coaching by a storytelling ringer: Jane Feltes, a veteran producer for This American Life and contributor to The Hairpin, has traveled from New York to watch rehearsals and offer the performers notes to participants on how to make their tales more vivid and economical. “She’s a friend,” Shrake says. “She wants to give back to the storytelling community.”
The Politics of Science is at The Artisphere tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available here. Doors open at 7: 30.