Doors intrigue me.
I’ve always loved the scene in Alice in Wonderland where she needs to eat and drink her way into a door that fits, losing touch with the key that works and struggling to find her way out of a room that doesn’t offer her anything anymore.
Doors frighten me.
I worry about not having the key I need to jingle a lock open, not being able to get to where I need to be.
Doors surround us: people we meet, opportunities that present themselves in small packages or unwieldy bundles. Doors open when we least expect them, and sometimes we’re searching for the right key when really we should be looking for a different door.
Listen to Your Mother has been a door for me. I sought it out, in so many ways: driving to Indiana last year, many times, to push my words “from page to stage;” applying to bring the show to Michigan for the first time; connecting with two women I respect and care about more every day.
This weekend, LTYM: Metro Detroit opened another door for me. I didn’t know this door existed, and I definitely didn’t know I needed to step through it.
Satori Shakoor is one of the amazing members of the LTYM: Metro Detroit inaugural cast, and she’s the creator and producer of The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers. Once a month, storytellers take the stage at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and they tell their stories.
Stories emerge from Detroit all the time, stories that trickle to national news teams. Negative stories. Bankruptcy and a mayor in prison, corruption and sweeping camera angles that drink in the ruin of beautiful buildings and burnt parcels of land. I imagine people watching these stories turn off their TVs, not wanting to think about how Detroit’s problems could one day be their problems.
Those are not the stories of the Twisted Storytellers: men and women who take the stage and affirm that life is an excruciating, exhilarating gift.
Those are not the stories of the audience participating in the stories told in that theatre. And yes, the audience participates — not with words, though there are affirmations and cheers, held breath and laughter. The audience participates with their eyes, with their hearts, with their very being that says, “Yes. We hear you. We empathize. We see the power in each of your stories, in each of your spirits.”
People who think Detroit is crumbling need to go sit in one of those chairs. They need to listen to the Twisted Storytellers tell their stories.
It sounds so simple, and maybe it is.
How do you feel about performing on stage?
I’ll be writing more about being a “virgin” at The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers later this week.
Join The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers on May 16 for Monumental Mothers.
Join us on May 4 for Listen to Your Mother: Metro Detroit