Performer’s Spotlight - Molly Bernsten
Everyone has their own experience when they come to Story District, and we want to hear them all! In this interview, Molly Bernsten tells us about Storytelling 101 and performing for the first time.
What brought you to Story District?
I decided to take a class with Story District for a few reasons. One is that I had gotten really interested in listening to stories. I listen to several storytelling podcasts and had started going to Story District events when I could. I really enjoyed listening to other people's stories and realized that my favorite stories were ones about seemingly unimportant events that were told in a really engaging way. I started trying to think about how I could frame those types of little events in my own life as stories and I decided to sign up for a class to get some guidance.
What were you hoping to get out of the class?
I guess that the most specific thing I was hoping to learn in the class was a framework and process to be able to take events in my life and find a way to express them to others as an engaging story. Other than that, I was excited to meet other people in DC who are interested in storytelling.
Were you excited to hear that you would be performing in front of an audience? Nervous?
I was definitely nervous to be performing in front of an audience! Even telling my story in front of the class was nerve wracking. But I also think the performance at the end of the class was a really important and valuable experience. I'm glad that it was part of the class.
You mention being interested in meeting other people who were interested in storytelling: Did you learn from the other students in your class?
I learned a lot from the other students in the class. Hearing other students workshop their stories and seeing what worked/didn't work helped me start to see my own story from the perspective of the audience. That shift in perspective was probably what led to the best improvements I made to my story.
What are some of your sources of inspiration?
I guess the main sources are the people in my life who I think are great storytellers (mostly my friends!). I also listen to lots of podcasts and they all make me think about storytelling in different ways... Love & Radio is my favorite and I'm also a big fan of The Moth, This American Life, 99% Invisible, Serial, and WTF.
Can you feel your training changing the way you tell a story even casually, to friends or family?
Sometimes I do feel like that! The biggest change I've experienced is I have a much better understanding of what details to leave OUT when I tell a story to my friends. My natural inclination is to get bogged down in the details and this class really helped me to identify and start to get rid of that tendency. It really does make a difference.
What was your experience at one of Story District’s storytelling events?
I have enjoyed all of the Story District events I've been to! Aside from the events being so very popular that it's sometimes hard to get a seat, I think that as an audience member (and as a storyteller) it would be great to see a more diverse crowd. To me, one of the most exciting things about storytelling is its' potential to connect people across generations, backgrounds, and communities and I would love to see more of that happening at Story District.
Inspired to take a Storytelling 101 class yourself? Sign up today and find your own story.