Tonight on stage in Reardon Auditorium, students will be sharing real stories of all kinds.
Quoth the Raven is an opportunity for students in the art of storytelling class to tell true stories from their lives. The class is taught by Jack Lugar, associate professor of cinema and media arts.
Lugar said the idea originated from a show on NPR called “The Moth.” The show consists of people across the country sharing true stories on live TV.
Lugar also said that the art of storytelling is a tradition for humans.
“Oral storytelling goes way back to the origins of humanity,” Lugar said. “It’s a fun skill to be able to tell a story from something in your life.”
Telling stories comes naturally to humans, but the students in the class work to craft that art.
“We spend days interacting with people and telling stories,” Lugar said. “We work in the class on the process of how to craft a good story, how to make it more compelling and how to enhance its humor and emotional value.”
Lugar started this event to get students up on stage doing something different than just writing stories in the class. The title came from the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.
“It came from the line in the poem ‘quoth the raven, nevermore,’” Lugar said. “Since we’re Ravens here at AU, I thought it was a fun title.”
Lugar said that students from a wide variety of majors will participate this year to share their experiences through storytelling.
“The stories are always different with different styles of presentation,” Lugar said. “The students aren’t all communication majors in the class this year, so it’s nice to have different types of storytellers.”
The cinema and media arts majors are partnering with the storytelling class to film a live studio production of the event.
“It really is a nice opportunity for us to put on a live show with a real audience,” Lugar said. “A live production requires live editing. We can go back and touch things up, but they get the experience of what a live production feels like.”
The audience sits on the stage to create a more intimate experience, so the whole live production will be in one place.
“It allows us to have a symbiotic relationship with our production students as well as students doing storytelling,” he said.
Lugar said that there’s a wide variety of things that the participants can get out of this event.
“By telling your own true story, it brings a depth of growth as a person being able to recount that story,” Lugar said. “Some of the stories are funny, and some are sad, so reliving those experiences helps you to verbalize what might have been a painful experience.”
As a listener of these stories, you can learn a lot from the people sharing them.
“The audience gains from hearing people’s stories,” Lugar said. “Whether it’s a deeper understanding of how to empathize and sympathize with people or just fun entertainment.”
With the evolution of technology, the way we tell stories has changed.
“It harkens back to the old days when people would gather around the campfire and tell stories,” Lugar said. “We’ve lost a lot of that with social media and technology.”
Storytelling is not like a play or stand-up comedy, so there’s a rawness and a reality to the craft.
Sophomore cinema and media arts major Nifemi Adejumobi was a storyteller in last year’s event and is now part of the film crew.
She said that the film crew works to make sure the live production runs smoothly by setting up microphones, cameras and lights. She also said that this process equips them for their future careers.
“It helps us to have experience on all sides of the production,” Adejumobi said. “A lot of people who are in this major typically want to be producers or directors, so it’s good for us to be able to understand and relate to the camera crew we will work with in the future.”
Adejumobi said that she had a great experience as a storyteller in last year’s production.
“We had prepared for about two or three weeks in class and tried to memorize our stories to the best of our abilities,” she said. “The stories are all real, so they have hints of our personalities in them which makes it more enjoyable.”
Because it is an intimate setting with a small crowd, Adjumobi said that her nervousness was lessened.
“I was pretty comfortable talking in front of everyone, and there were also a lot of familiar faces,” she said. “It was basically like a campfire, but with a microphone, lights and a stage.”
Freshman mathematics major Roger Gibson is in the class and was selected to share a story. He said that his background in theatre will come out in his way of storytelling.
“I really like to entertain,” Gibson said. “I did four years of theatre in high school, so getting up there and telling a story is really up my alley. I look forward to the enjoyment of doing it.”
The live production of stories starts at 7 p.m.