Share Your Story
Oral Fixation is welcoming story submissions for the April 19th & 20th, 2018 live storytelling shows in Houston, Texas entitled
Have you or someone you know had an abortion? Have you been in a relationship with someone who gets pregnant unexpectedly? Do you volunteer as a clinic escort or work for women’s rights? With both a matinee and an evening performance and the inclusion of Dr. Willie Parker as a storyteller, this is an incredible chance to share your truth in a meaningful and public way and contribute to normalizing the oft-stigmatized subject of abortion. Oral Fixation is seeking people of all gender identifications, ethnicities, sexuality, races, and socio-economic backgrounds. You do not need to have had an abortion to be considered.
How Can I Participate in Oral Fixation?
To share your story with us for consideration for participating as a storyteller in our show, please read this information carefully then fill out the Google form in its entirety for producer Nicole Stewart. The deadline is rolling and only 5 spots remain so don’t delay. Get your story in today!
What Are the Requirements for Sharing my Story?
Your story must be true and have happened to you. If you write it down and send it in, it must be between 1200-1500 words in length. If you send in an audio or video clip, it must be no less than 10 minutes in length. If your story does not exhibit an obvious and direct connection to the theme, it will not be considered. It is advised that you write a piece specifically for a theme that speaks to you as opposed to attempting to tailor a piece you’ve already written to fit in with one or more of the themes. Neither poetry nor songs are acceptable submissions.
What is Oral Fixation Looking for?
We are most interested in tales of transformative times of life: times when an event or series of events changed you. You were one person before and became someone new afterwards and that difference is still with you today. As far as tying in with the theme, we’re looking for either a literal or a figurative take on the theme. We will offer suggested takes on each theme but also love to be surprised. We love stories that are funny, thrilling, horrifying, exhilarating, embarrassing, sexy, poignant, bold, raw, revealing, and any combination of the above. The show is generally R-rated so avoid profanity unless essential and feel free to include the raw truth on matters of sex, drugs, and violence.
What do you Suggest as far as Story Structure?
The most compelling stories possess a clear beginning, middle and end. In the beginning, share the context of your life before the story happened. Remember that YOU are the main character of your story (yes, please tell it in 1st person) and that your character must be developed. Don’t assume the audience knows anything about you. We need to understand who you were (and where and what you were doing) before the event or series of events began so that we relate to you and root for you as you move through your journey. Along the way, let us in on why you made the choices you did and how you were thinking and feeling at the time. Dialogue can be a useful tool. In the end, reflect on how you have changed because of your story. Let us in on where you are today and why this story remains significant to you. Stories are most often told in chronological order, but that is not a requirement if you are inspired to create an alternate structure.
What Kind of Tone is Appropriate?
The medium of writing personal nonfiction for the stage needs not be poetic or formal. Rather, your story should read in a way that sounds authentically YOU as if you were telling a dear friend about a time in your life they don’t know much about. Allow your personality, sense of humor and point of view to show through your writing.
What is the Editing Process Like?
Your submission will be considered a first draft. It is the story itself, its connection to the theme, and your ability to share a story appropriate to the topic that is considered most heavily. If you are accepted, then you’ll go through an editing process to pull forth the truthiest, juiciest parts of your story and get you ready for the stage. This involves several 30-60 minute video conferences with editor Nicole Stewart during which she will ask you probative questions designed to stimulate your memory and flesh out the most relevant details of your story. In between each session, you’ll be expected to apply the notes given to you into an updated draft with a maximum word count. Your draft will be finalized several days before the rehearsal. It must read aloud at approximately 8-9 minutes.
What Happens at Rehearsal?
At the 4-hour mandatory rehearsal, you’ll meet the other storytellers over lunch then receive training on how to best read your story for an audience. The the group will engage in a physical and vocal warm-up. After a break, you will get a chance to read your story aloud. You will be timed and given feedback on your delivery. On the night of the show, you’ll read your story from the page.
How Do I Know If My Story is Worth Sharing?
If you have an instinctive response to a theme, strap yourself to a chair and spit your story out onto the page. Sometimes this is the hardest part so turn off your internet connection, put on some music and/or light a candle, and dig into your memory to mine the best, most relevant parts of your life experience that resonate with the theme.
When Do I Send in My Story?
Submissions may be sent in well in advance. You are encouraged to strike when the iron is hot- when inspiration finds you. But note that casting won’t be finalized until the dates listed under submission deadlines. In other words, if you send in a story in July for the October theme, don’t worry if you haven’t been notified one way or the other until early September.
What is the Time Commitment?
In addition to the 2-3 thirty-minute editing sessions over the monthlong period after you are cast, you’ll need to set aside time for working on your revisions (allow 2 hours each of 2-3 revisions). You’ll be expected to rehearse your story on your own by reading it aloud several times before the group rehearsal. Then you must attend the four-hour mandatory rehearsal a couple days before the show (exact time and rehearsal location will be stated in your acceptance package). Finally, you will be expected to be at the venue from approximately 12pm-10pm on the day of the shows. Be sure to confirm your availability for both the performance and the rehearsal before submitting.