The 2nd annual Suffolk University Story Slam took place this past Friday night and was a great success. The theme for the story slam was “Where I Am From.” There were ten storytellers set for the evening, five from Grub Street and five from Suffolk University. The two teams competed for the top story of the night and trust me there were some great ones. The stories ranged from making you laugh hysterically to having you fighting off tears. Each contestant had 5 minutes and 59 seconds to complete their story. The competition of great storytelling had begun.
The Story Slam took place at Suffolk University’s own Modern Theater. The cozy welcoming atmosphere of the venue hit you the second you walked in the door. Whether it was the opportunity to take a picture with Ramy the Suffolk University mascot, or the excited rumblings of the audience in anticipation of the performance we were all about to see. The night started off when the theater lights dimmed and the spotlight focused on our own Professor Amy Monticello standing at center stage.
Amy Started off by giving a background of how the whole Story Slam took place and all of the hard work that was dedicated to making it a possibility . She gave everyone there that was part of the Suffolk community a sense of pride. She recounted on the total fiasco with the President and Board of trustees. Specifically the way that the Suffolk University really came together to stand up for what was right. She expressed to the audience that she had found a home at Suffolk just like many others that were there.
Brent Daly from Grub Street was up first and he did a great job breaking the ice of the evening with hilarious dating encounter he had with the Grindr app. He depicted a crazy night of going out to a club and trying to find his date. He played on some pretty funny gay stereotypes that he encountered throughout the night. As well as sprinkling in some great dick size jokes that had the whole crowd roaring early. He described the club as separated into sort of clicks until it happened. The playing of Adele which brought the entire club together in song and dance.
Elizabeth Hadley from Suffolk was up next and her story was about why are we the way we are. She described a time in middle school when she found these absolutely kick ass socks. She loved them and wore them to school but was sadly bullied for them. Her Mom told her not to worry about what other people think, to do what she wanted. She then explained that ever since that moment she hasn’t cared about other people’s judgement and has done what has made her happy. Which is the way that everyone should live.
John Doole was then up for Grub Street who told a deeply sad life story that had the whole audience so quiet you could hear a pin drop. He told the story of his friend Frank that had suffered a traumatic brain injury from a gunshot. Frank recovered and worked to help others that were going through the same horrible situation, and that’s when the two met for the first time. John described to the audience how hard recovering from that type of injury is, how depressed and alone a person could get. His story showed how he overcame addiction and how he eventually lost his good friend Frank to suicide. He had to compose himself a couple times during the story which showed everyone how deeply his friend’s death had effected him and still does. It made one think about how important the gift of life is and that we should never take it for granted.
The show’s host Nora Dooly then came on with an amusing anecdote about the meaning of her last name. She had been bullied as well as a kid but for the name Dooly. This made her determined to find out what her name meant later in life. Dooly means dark warrior in Gaelic which is bad ass. However she also found that it was slang term for a penis in Ireland.
Jennifer Morasca from Suffolk had a sad story about how last semester her life had gotten turned upside down. Her family had gone through a tragic period of reoccurring drug abuse. From her sister to her mother she had to watch how drugs can effect a person. But she stayed strong and battled through adversity. It was an inspiring and deeply moving story.
Grant Patch from Grub Street is from Lexington, which until recently wasn’t a fact he was that proud of. He described it as a place where people stick to themselves. He never felt the same sense of community as his friend from the Bronx did about his home. That was until the Westboro Baptist Church decided to protest against his old high school for strongly supporting gay rights. His entire community came together out of nowhere to tell those hateful bigots where they could shove it. Making him feel for the first time a real sense of pride in his home town.
Janaye Kerr from Suffolk University is from Jamaica. She told the audience the story of how her father had to leave her family to get work in America to provide for his family. She described how not having her father there effected her childhood. She had an eating disorder and was getting into fights at school. Until one day her father surprised her by coming home, and taking her and her mother back to live with him in America as happy reunited family.
Michele Ferrari of Grub Street told about a time where her Brooklyn roots stood out at a party in a hilarious way. She was at a fancy party with her mother when all of a sudden her mom goes to grab a crumb cake from the car. She then offered the crumb cake to the party only to have it called a “poison cake” by some fitness snob. Having to be talked out of fighting her by her friends only to see the snob stuff her face with it by the end of the night.
Dan Hurley from Suffolk described how to him his mom was always home . She was his best friend. She was a teacher and always went out of her way to help someone in need. Sadly she was diagnosed with early onset dementia and passed away when he was only 15. She is still his hero, and he proudly told the audience that he tries to model his life by what she would have done.
Katherine Iannarone was Grub Street’s last storyteller. She told the story of how she was tried to conform into her perfect family. She had her problems and sadly her mother hid it from everyone saying that she was at school instead of getting help. She was not the golden child anymore and she accepted it and is proud of not being like her parents.
Sofia Ohrynowicz from Suffolk University was the last performer of the night. She talked about her favorite thing in school was theater. Putting on plays and musicals with her friends. Unfortunately after her friends graduated and her brother moved out, her parents got separated. She couldn’t handle that change and became depressed, until she started reading and writing more. She found a way to control her life in her writing and now proudly is a writer.
Overall the Ram Slam was a huge success for everyone involved. The storytellers did truly amazing jobs and moved everyone in the audience. It was a proud moment for the Suffolk and the Literary communities, and I for one was glad to be part of it.