Performer’s Spotlight - Mike Boyd
The intersection between family, faith and sexuality is often messy at best. Mike Boyd, one of our storytellers familiar with this particular headache, talked to us about his experience
How does it feel to be talking in front of an audience about something so personal to yourself?
I think that I am generally a very open person, and talking things out is a way that I deal with most any situation. As I became more involved with Story District and started telling stories on stage, I discovered that revealing your vulnerability is how you emotionally connect with people - whether with individuals or audiences. So I'm comfortable with that. The only thing that makes me uneasy is when I think that other people in my stories wouldn't like how I've remembered what happened or how I've portrayed them.
Is it hard to talk about struggles you’ve had with your family?
It's funny, when I was in high school, I used to say that my family was kind of boring. And then, when I was 20, my parents divorced, all hell broke loose, and I wished I'd never said that! I would hope that - if my family were to hear one of my stories - they wouldn't object because I'm telling the story as I remembered it, as I lived it. It's my truth. Each one of them would probably recount the story differently if they were telling it, but they'd have to admit that we all had plenty of struggles with each other in those years after the divorce. We're in a much better place with each other now, 30 years later.
How does it feel to be in the audience, listening to other performers tell their stories?
I attended my first Story District (then SpeakeasyDC) show in 2008, and I was immediately hooked. I was taken by the range of experiences that the eight performers had and how the audience was so warm, so receptive, so open to each one of them. I feel an electricity in the air as a Story District audience member. The audience is totally engaged and excited to hear what's next, and you often hear gasps and shrieks and laughs like you would at the movies.
Do you think your story can be both universal and unique?
Well, I certainly hope so because that's when Story District really shines. When you're in the audience and someone is telling a story about escaping war-torn Afghanistan or being run over by an elephant in Thailand, and you're thinking "I could never imagine myself in that situation" -- and yet, the storyteller is painting the picture so vividly that you can imagine yourself there and you do connect with something universal that they, as a human being, experienced -- that's the real power of storytelling, in my opinion.