Read Me A Story
Literary performance series unites writers, readers, listeners
By LeAne Rutherford
Everybody loves a good story—better yet, having a good story read to them. Stories on Stage Sacramento, a literary performance series, delivers stories to appreciative audiences by bringing page to stage and pen to performance.
Founded in 2010, the nonprofit SOSS offers stories of all shapes, sizes and types of literature—from poetic to personal, fabulous to funny. This award-winning reading series features stories by local, national and international authors performed out loud by professional actors.
Each SOSS program has a different format and focus. Stories bond reader and listener while extending community, passing on a culture that is amusing, exciting and entertaining.
In this intimate experience, sharing is the key to the door of togetherness. “Sitting in a room, sharing a live performance with a group of people is so exciting,” says Jessica Laskey, SOSS executive director, who runs the series with her husband, p joshua laskey, SOSS artistic director.
“Add to that the shared experience of the authors being present,” Jessica says, “and the entire evening ends up feeling alive and collaborative in a rare and special way.”
Earlier this year, six pieces of flash fiction told brief but complicated stories of rodeo life, past loves and trust in as few as 300 words. Professional actors gave life to the tales.
In another recent performance, a poet, a dramatist, a novelist and a writer of creative nonfiction competed in a Literary Death Match, which turned competition into more than a bit of clowning. The evening delivered an exhilarating assortment of four famous and budding authors performing their most robust writing in seven minutes or less before an approving audience.
A panel of three all-star judges, including journalist Vicki Gonzales, retired Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen, and actress and voice-over artist Neketia Henry, chose who would go forward in the contest.
SOSS has even seeded a similar series in nearby Davis. Merging storytelling with theater, the series fits right into the art community at the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts in Midtown.
CLARA, formerly the century-old Freemont School, accommodates the Sacramento Ballet, Alliance Française, Brazilian Center, Capital Stage, McKeever School of Irish Dance and Sacramento Preparatory Music Academy. Creativity is contagious.
Upcoming events include works from stalwart SOSS volunteers in September and creepy tales in “Friday the 13th Horror Night” in October.
Go to storiesonstagesacramento.org to find a multitude of ways to appreciate words in motion. The website and YouTube link visitors to blogs, podcasts and earlier performances. The site overflows with titles and authors and ways to unite writers, readers and listeners.
SOSS presents “Fall-unteers Night” at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, at The Auditorium at CLARA, 1425 24th St., featuring stories by longtime volunteers and authors Joella Aragon and Ana Cotham. For tickets and information visit storiesonstagesacramento.org.
LeAne Rutherford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.