Event Calendar

Jan
17
Sat
First Steps Into Storytelling: A Workshop with Matthew Dicks: Speak Up Creator and Moth StorySLAM Champion @ The Mount, Main House
Jan 17 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

First Steps Into Storytelling: A Workshop with Matthew Dicks: Speak Up Creator and Moth StorySLAM Champion

Speak Up co-founder and 15-time Moth StorySLAM champion Matthew Dicks returns to The Mount in January to teach a day-long intensive workshop on the art of storytelling. This is a workshop designed for people with little or no previous storytelling experience and seeks to meet the goals of a wide range of participants. While many of our workshop graduates have gone on to tell stories on stage for Speak Up, The Moth, and other storytelling organizations, most students take this beginner-level workshop with no desire to ever take the stage. People want to learn about storytelling for personal and professional development, to meet new people, to improve communication skills, to develop their writing ability, to challenge themselves, to finally get the attention of grandchildren and colleagues, and to try something new.

Included in this workshop will be:

  • Methods for generating ideas for stories from your life experiences (you have more stories than you realize!)
  • Games designed to generate new story ideas, develop the ability to speak extemporaneously, and apply the skills taught in the class
  • Structuring an effective story
  • The force of gravity in a story
  • Development of humor
  • Development of suspense
  • Performance techniques
  • The 16 Most Important Rules of Storytelling

In addition to the modeling of stories, direct instruction, and interactive components, participants will be invited to (but not required to) develop a story of their own that will be presented to the class for critique.

Note: This workshop will be held at the Main House; participants can park in the lower parking lot.

Matthew Dicks

Matthew Dicks

Matthew Dicks is the author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing and Unexpectedly, Milo and the musicals The Clowns and Stuck in the Middle. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide, and his most recent is an international bestseller. He is also a columnist for Seasons magazine and has published work in The Hartford Courant, The Huffington Post and The Christian Science Monitor. When not hunched over a computer screen, he fills his days as an elementary school teacher, a public speaker, a blogger, a wedding DJ, a minister, a life coach and a Lord of Sealand. He is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.

Matthew is a 12-time Moth StorySLAM champion and whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. He has also told stories for The American Life, TED, The Story Collider, Literary Death Match, The Mouth, The Liar Show, and many others. He is the co-founder and producer of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization.

Matthew is married to friend and fellow teacher, Elysha, and they have two children, Clara and Charlie. He grew up in the small town of Blackstone, Massachusetts, where he made a name for himself by dying twice before the age of eighteen and becoming the first student in his high school to be suspended for inciting riot upon himself.

Speak Up is a Hartford-based organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. We provide storytellers, both novice and experienced, with the opportunity to take the stage and tell true stories from their own lives based upon a predetermined theme. Speak Up directors work with storytellers prior to the performance in order to assist in the crafting and presentation of stories and conduct workshops for people interested in learning more about the art of storytelling.

Jan
25
Sun
Staged Reading of The Edith Wharton Project, Part I: Leisure @ The Drawing Room at The Mount
Jan 25 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Staged Reading of The Edith Wharton Project, Part I: Leisure

Written by Sara Farrington

Directed by Marina McClure

Featuring: Alexis McGuinness and Stephanie Regina

We’re celebrating Wharton’s birthday month by championing the playwrights and performing artists who keep her words and ideas alive in the 21st century.  Inspired by Edith Wharton’s own life, love affair, and writing style, Part 1: Leisure is the first in a 3-part play cycle and a highly theatrical tragedy of manners. Unspeakably rich novelist Grace Hunter and her Irish maid, Lucy, take an intoxicating ride through the class system, sexual politics, decadence, elaborate dinner parties, and treatment of mental illness in 1907 New York City. While Grace’s husband, Harry, loses his grip on his sanity, she embarks on a passionate love affair with the mysterious Delancey Morris. The drama reveals itself through experimental movement, psychological gesture, theatrical jump cuts and multiple characters shifts.

Ticket includes reception and talk-back following the staged reading.  Come see why Wharton continues to inspire, and share your thoughts with the actors, writer, and director!

Alexis McGuinness

Alexis McGuinness

Stephanie Regina

Stephanie Regina

 

Sara Farrington (Playwright) – MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College w/ Mac Wellman. 2014 HARP Artist at HERE Arts Center to create CasablancaBox, directed by Reid Farrington at CultureMart 2015 & 16, premiere in 2017. Recent work includes: Near Vicksburg (Incubator Arts, workshops at Walkerspace, Foxy Films, First Stories Festival @ The Wild Project), Requiem For Black Marie (Incubator Arts, Foxy Films, Stella Adler Studios, The Rise & Fall of Miles & Milo (FringeNYC, winner: Outstanding Playwriting). Sara is a Princess Grace Award Finalist, MacDowell Colony Fellow, Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist, Dragon’s Egg Residency recipient and has participated in Erik Ehn’s silent playwriting retreats. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. at www.broadwayplaypubl.com. She lives and works in Downtown Brooklyn with husband Reid and son, Jack.

Marina McClure (Director) –Director and media artist specializing in character-driven, interdisciplinary work with the audience experience at the core. She has directed theater, opera, and spectacles for Handspring Puppet Company, The American Conservatory Theater, REDCAT, The Kennedy Center, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, and in found spaces and theaters in Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, New England, and South Africa. 2012 Fulbright Finalist and her awards include a General-Campbell Fellowship, chashama, Vox, and FAR Space Artist Residencies, and the Gurdin Directing Award. She has taught directing, writing and movement for both of her alma maters, as well as led movement and storytelling workshops in South Africa and throughout the US. She has been a script reader for the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group since 2006. Currently developing an episodic, interactive installation of Hamlet with digital artist Keith Skretch that explores leadership and groupthink.

Feb
15
Sun
Gilded Prostitution: Edith Wharton’s The Buccaneers and the American Siege of London @ The Drawing Room at The Mount
Feb 15 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Wharton’s posthumously published novel, The Buccaneers, captures the early years of the transatlantic marriage phenomenon when Americanimage002 women took London society by storm. They dazzled British aristocrats with their wit, charm, and irreverence for formality, and constituted a beachhead for greater numbers of marital liaisons between American women and British peers and their younger sons. Set in the same era as The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers deals with two metropolises on either side of the Atlantic experiencing volatile social change and uses marriage as a lens through which to explore points of friction in gender and class relationships as well as in social and political values. Its comedic moments scarcely hide Wharton’s sharp criticism of elite marriages as “gilded prostitution”.

Maureen Montgomery.

Maureen Montgomery.

Maureen Montgomery will examine Wharton’s final novel in light of her own socio-historical analysis of titled marriages in the period 1870-1914 and the controversies they stirred.

Maureen Montgomery is the inaugural holder of the McGinty Distinguished Chair in History at Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island. She has taught History and American Studies at universities in England, New Zealand, and the United States and is a member of the Edith Wharton Society. She has published several essays on Edith Wharton and is the author of Displaying Women: Spectacles of Leisure in Edith Wharton’s New York (Routledge, 1998) and “Gilded Prostitution”: Status, Money, and Transatlantic Marriages, 1870-1914 (Routledge, 1989), reissued in paperback in April 2014.

Feb
28
Sat
Speak Up: Life’s Biggest Moments @ The Drawing Room at The Mount
Feb 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

On February 28, Speak Up returns to The Mount with a special salon show about life’s biggest moments. This more intimate storytelling experience will feature logofour storytellers telling humorous and heartfelt stories about the road to happily ever after. The intimacy of Mrs. Wharton’s salon will bring the audience much closer to the storytellers, their stories, and their craft.

Attendees should come ready to participate and put the professionals to the test. The audience will be able to press the performers for more details after each set – What did the teller leave out? And what happened next? The four storytellers will also each generate a story on the spot taken from audience prompts. It’s live action storytelling without a net!

Matthew Dicks

Matthew Dicks

Matthew Dicks (host, producer, storyteller) is the author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing and Unexpectedly, Milo, and the upcoming The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide, and his most recent is an international bestseller. He is also the author of the rock opera The Clowns and the musical Caught in the Middle. He is a columnist for Seasons magazine and has published work in The Hartford Courant, The Huffington Post and The Christian Science Monitor. When not hunched over a computer screen, he fills his days as an elementary school teacher, a storyteller, a blogger, a wedding DJ, a minister, a life coach and a Lord of Sealand. He is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.

Matthew is a 15-time Moth StorySLAM champion and GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. He has also told stories for The American Life, TED, The Story Collider, The Liar Show, Literary Death Match, The Mouth and others. He is the co-founder and producer of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization.

Matthew is married to friend and fellow teacher, Elysha, and they have two children, Clara and Charlie. He grew up in the small town of Blackstone, Massachusetts, where he made a name for himself by dying twice before the age of eighteen and becoming the first student in his high school to be suspended for inciting riot upon himself.

Lynelle Abel

Lynelle Abel

Lynelle Abel is a blue collar girl at heart and finds that her best stories come from her small town roots. She credits her keen interest in storytelling to her mother and her seven brothers and sisters. They are the consummate storytellers and have shaped Lynelle’s life in indescribable ways through their stories of resilience and humor in the face of incredible hardships.

Lynelle is proud of her not so picture perfect childhood – and while she and her husband went through great lengths to provide a more wholesome life for their two sons – she secretly hopes they are creating their own life stories filled with interesting people, happenings and experiences they’ve had along their journey through life.

Lynn Katz

Lynn Katz

Lynn Katz is a recently retired public school educator and former attorney. She has worked in a total of nine schools in a professional capacity, including Farmington, West Hartford, and Plainville, CT. Unlike her professional-wanderlust tendencies, Lynn has been married to the same man for 34 years. She met her husband Bob while they were both working at a summer camp for children with learning challenges. They have a daughter, a son, and a daughter-in-law. All are attorneys. Lynn enjoys travel, dancing, and reading. She won her first and only beauty contest, Miss Central Park, in Schenectady, NY in 1956.

Chris Kriesen was conceived in Connecticut but born in Philadelphia. He grew up in a small upstate NY farm town, and moved back to CT in his early twenties. He spent his boyhood summers at a seven-week boy’s camp in NH and has climbed almost every mountain in that state. He lived in Europe after college (in London he lived in a pub; in Paris he lived in a famous bookstore, Shakespeare & Company, for six weeks). He got a law degree from The University of Connecticut and a Master’s degree from Trinity.

Chris Kriesen

Chris Kriesen

He is a teacher of English as a second language at Literacy Volunteers of Hartford. He is a student at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, NY, where he once spent an entire week meditating each day, dawn to dusk, and attained enlightenment on the fifth day, for five minutes. He has never won at cards but has been lucky in love, several times. He can read ten books at the same time, but can never finish any one of them. He has never been attacked by a shark, but is certain he will be. And he will survive.

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