By Danielle Bettendorf Staff writer
A storytelling event titled “Skin I’m In: Stories About the Body” will take place at Isaacs Auditorium on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m.
The event is based off the “Stories on Tap” series, which originated in Lewisburg with Director Julie Louisa Hagenbuch.
“‘Stories on Tap’ held its first event just over five years ago in Lewisburg,” Hagenbuch said. “[It began] with the idea that even small communities can benefit from gathering together and sharing our stories of struggle and surprise, of love and perseverance.”
“‘Stories on Tap’ is open to anyone who wants a space to perform and tell a story,” Hagenbuch added. “We try to keep it light and fun, usually taking place at drop-in venues like bars and cafes so people can come and go.”
Karol Weaver, professor of history, said, “It brings together storytellers around a specific theme, so I partnered with [Hagenbuch] to bring ‘Stories on Tap’ to Susquehanna.”
According to Weaver, a maximum of ten speakers will each present a five-minute-long story without prepared materials.
There will be a moderator for the event, and one storyteller will be awarded first place for the best story. There will be musical intermissions between stories.
“The musicians also serve as time keepers for our storytellers,” Hagenbuch added. “They play a few notes when each storyteller hits the four-minute mark, and then another set of notes to play the storyteller off the stage at the five-minute mark.”
Weaver said that the theme of “skin I’m in” and body issues relates to the medical humanities, and women’s studies.
“Medical humanities is a program that looks at how humanities disciplines can inform ideas about the body, or ideas about medicine and health,” she said.
It’s also tied to women’s studies because of the importance of body issues in relation to women’s issues, but also issues related to gender,” Weaver added.
“The parameters of ‘Stories on Tap’ both allows people a venue to tell their own stories related to the body and to issues of health,” Weaver said. “It could be autobiographical, but it also could be stories someone has told them, or fictional.”
“It provides an opportunity for storytelling [for] that specific art form,” Weaver continued. “It relates to events we’ve already done where people tell their stories tied to the body, like theatrical productions that students run like ‘The Vagina Monologues’ or ‘The Good Body.’”
Weaver expects Susquehanna students, faculty and staff to attend, but also hopes the event will attract members of the community as well.
According to Weaver, the purpose of the event is to “really draw together a university community with the larger public community and hopefully to bring together storytellers on campus in contact with storytellers in the community.”
“There are regulars that attend these events and that present at them, so [the purpose is] to bring those regulars in contact with other storytellers and other people who are interested in this topic,” Weaver added.
Hagenbuch said “Stories on Tap” filled a similar purpose.
“The goal of ‘Stories on Tap’ is to draw people together,” Hagenbuch said.
“With the intense political polarization we’re experiencing in the United States, it feels especially important to build bridges to each other and show how common our experiences, desires and emotions are,” Hagenbuch said.
“The world is becoming a more democratic and less violent place, but we still have major work to do, and there are very real battles that will be much more easily worked through if we are able to share our stories, respect each other’s experiences and stand up together,” Hagenbuch added.