avorite Credits: Playing Dr. Charlotte in the first ever Long Island production of Falsettos at Theatre Three; Performing my solo cabaret show Getting Over Myself...Because Nothing Else Seems To Be Working as a fundraiser for a downtown Houston community arts center that raised $30,000 in one night,, and prior to that event the show had a great run of fun performances at a club called Roses' Turn in the village; Writing and performing in Tapestry Of Hope a play with original songs inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt that toured Long Island and New York to raise money and consciousness about HIV/AIDS in 1994-1995;
Why theater?: Theater poses the possibility that we can look at anything in life - from the depths of feeling hidden in the most subtle, mundane moments of our lives to the wild, chaotic rides that change everything without notice - and try to understand it together. There is a kind of magic about becoming a character and telling a story that brings a group of people into the same emotional space. The experience of getting a big laugh that rolls through the room, or feeling the tension build in the audience as a story moves in unexpected ways is almost indescribably rewarding. And theater is the best way to learn about people we might not otherwise know about, people we might never meet in real life. I love being part of that.
Tell us about (Mostly) True Things?: (Mostly) True Things is a game wrapped in a storytelling show, with a side of songs inspired by storytelling. In the show, 4 storytellers tell true stories but 3 of them include subtle little lies woven into the narrative. After all the stories are told, the audience has an opportunity to ask questions of the storytellers, (who are not obligated to answer honestly - improvisation is recommended) then votes for the person they think told it straight. Audience members who vote correctly win a prize - a tote bag that says "my superpower is discernment." There are original songs written for the show that set up each stage of the game, and all but one of them gets the audience to sing. The song "Tell Me A Story" welcomes the storytellers to the stage, the song "That's Your Story And You Say That Its True" has an improvised verse for each story told in the show and sets up the audience interaction portion of the show, and "To Be Continued" Is the song that wraps it all up.
What inspired you to create (Mostly) True Things?: There was no storytelling show local to Long Island. So in part because I was always pushing myself to get to open mic shows in the city, or get my name in the bag at The Moth, or pitching stories to established shows, I thought hosting a show would be a way to tell stories onstage on a regular basis much closer to home, and promote the development of a storytelling scene on Long Island. It was tough getting audiences for the first few months because this kind of storytelling was an entirely new form of entertainment for most people, so I created the game which seemed to intrigue people. I wanted the stories to be true so we would be sharing the Moth-style storytelling form, so the lies are always very subtle (e.g. a song playing on a car radio that doesn't fit with the timeline of a story). I also wanted to use my songwriting skills and love of music to set the show apart and it seems to have worked. READ COMPLETE INTERVIEW
Erin Rodgers, of the show and blog Story Stars interviewed jude treder-wolff. Here are some excerpts and a link to the entire Q&A at www.storystarshow.com
What separates a good story from a great story?
A good story is engaging, emotionally compelling, and entertaining. A great story is illuminating and transformative. A great story reshapes the way we see ourselves or other people or the world and it sticks. We cannot unsee what a great story shows us about life.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to try storytelling for the first time?
Trust that your life experiences are interesting and rich. Know that your life stories are important and worth sharing with the world. And also know that the creative process of crafting a lived experience into a stage-worthy story is a creative process that develops a powerful skill set for having impact in the world.
Often first-time storytellers think they will have more confidence if they share about their successes in life, but I encourage them to look at another way. What makes our successes interesting to other people is all the reasons that success was unlikely, the obstacles that had to be overcome in order to realize it. The best stories are about struggle. Often people think their life is not interesting enough for them to tell stories about it, and that a great story has to have crazy coincidences or wild characters. But the most compelling stories are about how a person is impacted by life. Almost everyone has gone through things like a friend's sudden rejection, a co-worker taking credit for work that we did, the moments when we realize life is not fair and we have to choose how we will deal with that reality. But everyone has their own take on those experiences, details specific to their own life and world, and giving words to our own unique take can produce wonderful stories. Even very private, internal struggles can be fantastic stories. An authentic struggle - even if it was a simple thing like leaving KMart, realizing you walked out of the store without paying for something and how you made a decision whether or not to go back in and pay for it - can be fascinating to listen to if we do the creative work.
It takes some courage to reveal our inner life or let people in on obstacles we faced but audiences can feel that vulnerability and relate to it. And finding the strength to open up that way translates into empowerment in every area of life.
How do you know when an experience should be a shorter story vs a full length show?
If the context of a story - e.g. the world in which it takes place, the background of important characters - is essential to the a listener's ability to follow the beats and understand the struggle and what the narrative is driving at, then a story might organically develop into a full-length show. Read the entire Q&A on www.storystarshow.com
Jude Treder-Wolff was interviewed on the internet radio show Morning Moments With Maia. You can listen to the entire interview on this link.