Storytelling, though probably older than the artiodactyla drawings on the cave walls of Lescaux, doesn’t often get its due as an art form. But Burlington resident Brooke Dooley’s interest was piqued when she discovered “The Moth,” a storytelling event that has popped up in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and can be heard on National Public Radio and via podcast. “My family are big storytellers. We’re Irish — it’s kind of how we relate to each other,” explains Dooley, 30, a web designer and accountant. “I found myself wanting to hear the stories of people around me and reaching out to the community, too.”
While listening “obsessively” to recordings of “The Moth” for the past two years, Dooley searched for similar events in the Burlington area, to no avail. So she created one herself.
On February 16, her brainchild, called “Anecdote,” premieres at 1/2 Lounge. The event’s tagline: “True stories told live. No notes, no bull.” Burlington is full of great performers and performances, Dooley says, but she’s more interested in hearing the stories of people “who aren’t performers, who have lived lives.”
At “Anecdote,” participants must tell a true story, five to seven minutes long, from their own personal experience. A ban on notes makes the tales “more of a communication and less of a performance,” says Dooley.
The inaugural evening will feature stories with the theme “All in the Family.” Dooley encourages anyone planning to take the mic to reserve a spot. Future dates are already set with likely themes — workplace recollections and being “a stranger in a strange land” — that Dooley says she designed to inspire introspection and candor. “It forces people to be real, and you get something from strangers that you usually only get from close friends,” she says.
Like “The Moth,” which has featured both everyday folks and big names such as Moby and Ethan Hawke, “Anecdote” performances will be recorded. If the venture takes off, Dooley says, she may air a podcast of her own. Until then, the recordings will serve as an archive of moments in the lives of Vermonters, once reserved for friends and family.