by Elena Arida
In a fusion of English class and the performing arts, some WHS students chose to share their storytelling skills at Frank Damico’s Story Slam in Summit on Oct. 24.
Seniors Leo Rosenthal and James Whack and sophomore Dylan Wicke performed for the crowd, accompanied by other students and English Teachers Ms. Rebecca McGrath and Ms. Danielle Fletcher.
Story slams are competitions in which performers are given five minutes to share a story on the evening’s theme, according to themoth.org.
According to McGrath, the theme of the night was “firsts.”
Rosenthal told the story of his first broken bone; Whack shared his experience at his first football practice, and Wicke spoke about his first day of kindergarten.
Said Rosenthal, “My piece was about when I was at Night Place in seventh grade, and I was a dumb kid who thought he could breakdance, [which resulted in] a broken wrist and bruised pride.”
According to McGrath, the local story slams are part of Damico’s larger project.
“I have played several recorded stories from The Moth story slams in NYC in my senior English classroom…. When I found out [Damico] was hosting a story slam so close to Westfield, I invited my students to attend,” said McGrath.
She added, “My students were in the process of writing personal narratives, so we took this opportunity to discuss written and oral storytelling.”
“I had been saving [this story] for the right time to perform,” said Rosenthal.
Whack said he was nervous leading up to his performance.
Said Whack, “After that, I just told the story and started warming up to the crowd.”
“[I] am eager to perform there again, and I urge my fellow students to come,” added Rosenthal. The Storytelling Slam Series will be held at 8 p.m. every other Thursday at MONDO in Summit. Visit themoth.org for more dates and events.