Blog Archives

Many Stories, Many Missions

Officially, Ex Fabula’s mission is “strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling,” and we’re excited to carry out our mission in collaboration with Waukesha Reads. Over the years, however, I’ve come up with a series of unofficial mission statements based on stories about things that have happened at our events.

The first unofficial mission, “Host local events where people tell personal stories,” dates to the beginnings of Ex Fabula. In 2009, I and four other twenty- and thirty-somethings kept having the same conversation over and over. For example, after Amy Schleicher and I attended a StorySlam while on a work trip, we kept talking about how someone should start a storytelling organization with a more Midwestern sensibility back. Then, Matt Sabljak and I expressed the same wish after chatting about stories that we heard on the podcast This American Life. At some point Matt and his friend Adam Weise had the same conversation, and then I met Leah Delaney and repeated it. Eventually, it occurred to us that perhaps we were the “someone,” so we scheduled a time to connect at Maharaja’s lunch buffet. 90 minutes after some of us met for the first time, we were planning an event and brainstorming names for our group; six weeks later, we hosted our first StorySlam.

Down the line, we became better at articulating the reasons that we loved personal stories, and thus was born another unofficial mission: “Connecting family, friends, neighbors and strangers.” For example, Amie Losi told a story in 2010 that touched on two big events in her life: her marriage and divorce. After hearing that story on Ex Fabula radio, Amie’s sister reached out to her to talk more about those incidents. At the time of the divorce, Amie’s sister didn’t really understand what Amie was going through, but the personal story opened her eyes and brought the two closer together.

A variation of that mission would be “Making strangers hug each other.” One of many examples comes from Yetunde Bronson, who described her experience at the Spectacular in December 2014 as “That incredible moment when you tell a story about suffering from PTSD, and two Vietnam veterans come up to you afterward, hug you and thank you for sharing your story.” Aww!

Taking that mission one step further and you get “Create a platform for healing and learning through personal stories.” Nakia Hood experienced the power of telling his story as an Ex Fabula Fellow, and the day after his first event, he emailed saying “You don’t know the healing from hurt that has taken place by me just talking about my issues”. I thanked him for sharing because his story, which focused on his experiences in school as a young Black boy, also taught me a lot; I grew up in very different circumstances from Nakia’s, and although I’ve read research and news articles about our education system, his personal story was way more powerful.

Of course, our Slams aren’t all serious, so another mission is “Entertain people through interactive live events.” We’ve heard stories about all sorts of hilarious situations: skinny dipping, dating mishaps, childhood mischief, mistaken identities, and more. The audience is so supportive when people get vulnerable on stage, and it’s really nice to laugh hard with a group of people. Just thinking about these stories makes me giggle a bit!

There’s one last informal mission that I want to share because you can play a part: “Help everyone in the Greater Milwaukee region to share a personal story.” We’re trying to accomplish this by partnering with groups like Waukesha Reads and by providing lots of ways for people to share, including the UltraShort, which can be done without getting onstage, and the Terkel, an interview format. To that end, please join us at the Waukesha Civic Theatre this Thursday November 3rd at 7 pm for a free StorySlam. You can come just to listen – no pressure, I promise – or, if you have a true personal story to share, you can throw your name in the hat and then take the stage. Either way, we hope that one of our missions – formal or informal – can enrich your life as it’s enriched my life and the lives of so many others in Southeastern Wisconsin.

megan-mcgeeMegan McGee

Executive Director of Ex Fabula

Photo Credit: Kat Schleicher

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Cramer’s Corner: Entertainment Falls Into Place At WCT!

The ACAP PlayMakers’ Show Of Shows III is WCT’s next show, running October 6 through 9.  The show features songs and scenes from previous PlayMakers’ shows mixed with some new material.  Click here to buy tickets.

Our new screen and projector is once again helping us bring the silver screen back to the PIX.  Our next movie of the season will be Young Frankenstein on October 10 at 6:30 pm.  The cast of the movie includes Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Terri Garr, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, and more.  All tickets are $5.00, and we have concessions available, including soda, water, beer, wine, cookies, beef sticks, and … wait for it … POPCORN!  Click here to buy tickets.

Our next Random Act of Entertainment is David Seebach’s Illusions In The Night, October 14-16.  Spectacular illusions, mystery, eerie music, colorful costumes, and comedy are all woven together in this family-friendly show with one of Milwaukee’s greatest treasures.  Click here to buy tickets.

Our next Pee Wee Players opportunity is Saturday, October 15.  4-5 year olds get together for a few hours to of singing, dancing, and imagination.  Click here for more information or to register.

Our second Mainstage show of the season will be To Kill A Mockingbird October 28 through November 13, including three daytime performances for schools to take advantage of.  We are partnering with Waukesha Reads, as the novel by Harper Lee is the featured book this year. Click here to get your tickets.

Fred Klett will bring his unique brand of comedy to our stage in a one night only benefit performance full of good, clean fun, aptly titled A Night Of Comedy With Fred Klett on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:30 pm.  Click here to buy tickets.

Ex Fabula Story Slam will take our stage as part of Waukesha Reads on Thursday, November 3, at 7:00 pm.  Tickets are FREE for this event.  Click here for more information.

WCT was awarded $500.00 by Staples Foundation as part of 2 Million & Change philanthropic initiative. We will use the funds to support our daytime performances of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Share Your Heart! Heart of Canal Street is Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s community program that raises funds for children’s charities – and WCT is in the running to be a beneficiary.  Heart of Canal Street has raised nearly $16 million for hundreds of area children’s charities since 1994. The program honors the Potawatomi tradition of nurturing younger generations so they grow to lead healthy, productive lives.  Half of each $3 or $7 Canal Street Bingo game purchased goes to the Heart of Canal Street fund, which totaled more than $1 million last year! Share your heart by playing the Canal Street Bingo game now through Dec. 15. Visit paysbig.com/heart to learn more.

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby is Wendie Thompson.

Our 60th Season is on sale now.  Subscription packages for the Mainstage shows, and individual tickets for everything can be purchased now.  Please join us for another great season of entertainment!

Thank you to all of the generous donors that have supported us so far this season.  If you would like to donate, you can choose from any number of ways you could help us not only maintain, but thrive, as Waukesha’s Cultural Cornerstone.

Please Consider Giving …

* A gift to our Operating Fund

* A gift to our Spotlight On The Future Capital Campaign

* A matching gift through local sponsoring business employers

* A gift that will last a lifetime through your Will or Estate Planning

* A gift by donation to CARS

* A gift by shopping through Amazon Smile

* A gift by purchasing something on our Amazon Wish List

* Choose WCT as your Thrivent Choice charitable organization

* Become a Sponsor of outstanding performances and educational programs

Have a Happy Halloween, and I’ll see you at the Theatre!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

jcramer@waukeshacivictheatre.org

262-547-4911 ext. 13 office