Oral Fixation’s very own rockstar, Ken Bethea, took the stage with an inspiring story about going from “the copy man” to a bona fide rock star in less than three years. In peeling back the curtain of how he formed the Old 97’s, Ken reminded the audience that, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
With her signature sarcasm and sass, veteran storytellerMelissa Smrekar returned to the Oral Fixation stage with an uproarious tale of her complicated relationship with The Great Outdoors that left the audience buckling over in laughter. In telling the story of a mandatory eighth grade camping trip, Melissa revealed how she arrived at one of her life mantras: that it’s really liberating to say no to shit you hate.
Dallas Morning News reporter and avid camper, Charles Scudder, introduces the audience to Goatman, the campfire monster who haunted his dreams on camping trips as a child. Years later, when Charlie was assigned to write an article about the “Lake Worth Monster,” he entered the lion’s den and came face-to-face with the real life Goatman.
Oral Fixation’s spirited leader, Nicole Stewart, reflects on a dark period of her youth when her desire to be tan, blonde and thin led to severe anorexia. After violating a rule at her beloved summer camp, Nicole bravely faced her demons head-on to forge a path to recovery from her eating disorder. In accepting the forgiveness of others, she was finally able to forgive herself.
With a passionate love for the outdoors, the poised and eloquent Randy Brown invited the audience along for one of his adventures to the Grand Canyon, where he once found himself stranded without a lifeline.
The adorably quirky Xuan Nguyen charmed the audience with her tale of growing up as a Vietnamese-American who longed for the normalcy of Lunchables and summer camp. When the self-described “weird kid” fulfilled her dream by attending a Vietnamese Catholic camp, though, it wasn’t everything she hoped it would be.
The compassionate Ryan Gifford-Robinson delivers an impactful story of working at a camp for disabled youth, an experience that profoundly impacted his view of the world. Through his connection with the boys, Ryan reminds us that some people’s dreams are as simple as getting to pee in the woods.
Oral Fixation’s creator, Nicole Stewart, is no stranger to the stage herself. Next week, she’ll close out the show’s fourth season with a powerful story about the cry for help that helped her overcome an eating disorder in “Happy Camper.”
Nicole Stewart is the creator of Oral Fixation. She spoke at TEDxSMU about the power of sharing your story. Her writing has been featured on The Huffington Post, Modern Loss, and Upworthy. She couldn’t do any of this without her supportive husband Anton, dog Ellie and amazing community of friends.
Oral Fixation’s assistant director, Melissa Smrekar, is a humorist, Oral Fixation vet and lover of performing. This month, she’ll give a hilarious account of her most memorable childhood camping trips in “Happy Camper.”
Melissa is a fourth generation Dallasite, who works as a fundraiser by day and moonlights as a writer, editor and improviser by night. Oral Fixation’s assistant director, Melissa loves sundresses, souffles, birthdays and books, and is currently writing a collection of comedic essays. She has been feeling feelings since 1986.