Oral History: Pulling Teeth

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On Wednesday, April 13, the cast of “Pulling Teeth” took to the Dallas City Performance Hall stage and delivered just what the dentist ordered: seven crowning tales of transformation and change. Funnier than laughing gas and deeper than a root canal, our “Pulling Teeth” storytellers led the audience on a wild ride that drilled deep, aligned smiles and filled the cavities within. From literal to metaphorical, these “Pulling Teeth” tales went down easy. 

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School psychologist Poonam Desai kicked off the night by charming the audience with her winning smile — and the story of the metal her mouth once endured to acquire it. With wit and grace, Poonam chronicled her adventures in orthodontia as well as her personal journey of achieving balance between two cultures.

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Having gotten lucky and survived colon cancer, writer and improv artist Greg Silva took the audience from despair to stitches with his hilarious tale of having to poop by 5 p.m. in order to go home following surgery. “I tried thinking happy thoughts,” Greg said. “But no luck. My bags were packed — but so were my intestines.”

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When one of her baby teeth hung around into adulthood, author Yasmin Waring told audiences of how she nicknamed it Pippi — and blamed it for her own transgressions. After her father’s passing, however, Pippi finally went, too. “Baby tooth #T was replaced and officially crowned #29,” Yasmin told us. “She’s all grown up now. And so am I.”

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Captivating us all, former inner-city school teacher Anna Lassiter exhibited tremendous courage when she told the audience about the tragic loss of a college roommate and the guilt she later harbored over finally giving up on a student she couldn’t save. “Sometimes a tooth is so rotten, it has to be pulled to save the rest of the teeth,” Anna said.

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OF veteran Peter Luby took audience members to Morocco, where he and his wife were once stationed in the Peace Corps, and things went awry. Although Peter hoped third-world suffering would build his character, in the end what built his character was looking out for the woman he loved and getting her home.

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Having suffered the ravages of meth addiction, Tracy Hawkins gave the audience a primer on why meth destroys teeth and how she once convinced herself to make her own new teeth out of fake fingernails. “I looked like a beaver on meth,” Tracy told us. In the end, though, thanks to Attitudes & Attire, Tracy ended up with one of the world’s best smiles.

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With a story that spanned decades, Stan Cobb — dentist, painter, pastor, professor, and cowboy — shared his challenging tale of starting over at 42. “I was jumping off a cliff and taking three people with me,” he said. With a Texas twang that filled the performance hall, Stan tied up our evening perfectly by reminding us all, “it is the people in our lives that matter most.”

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According to all dentists and audience members consulted, the diagnosis was clear: “Pulling Teeth” was more effective than Novocain and wiser than wisdom teeth. To examine more evidence yourself, check out the full photo gallery below. Of course, having survived their time in the OF dentist office, these storytellers are now part of the Oral Fixation family. You could be too! Keep an eye out over the summer for our announcement of Season 6 themes. If you have a story that fits, please submit! In the meantime, be sure to mark your calendars now and buy tickets today to catch our season finale show, “Icing on the Cake” on Tuesday, May 10. It promises to be oh-so-sweet indeed.

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