In the Moment: Interviews with Storytellers of Better Said Than Done

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Seven years ago, Better Said Than Done stepped out onto the theatrical stage as a storytelling organization. The idea behind the establishment of Better Said Than Done was to bring storytellers from around the DMV to more regular public notice, including monthly shows at Northern Virginia venues.

Telling true, personal stories is different from a theatrical monologue which can be part of a larger full production. But storytelling and a theatrical monologue share a key element; someone is standing in the spotlight in front of a live audience speaking, and holding the audience’s attention.

Jessica Robinson, founder of Better Said Than Done. Photo courtesy of Better Said Than Done.
Jessica Robinson, founder of Better Said Than Done. Photo courtesy of Better Said Than Done.

According to Better Said Than Done founder Jessica Robinson, “what is told is a story, meaning they have a beginning, middle, and end. Most importantly, storytelling is a performance, an art, a form of entertainment, creating a reality the audience will not forget.”

To celebrate its 7 years of storytelling and to give back to its growing community and supportive audiences, Better Said Than Done is hosting a free event. It will showcase a wide range of seasoned storytellers and stories. Some stories will be tales of adventure, others full of love, some dealing with suspense, and some meant to raise an eyebrow or two with their edgy content. And remember the stories, though likely laced with enhanced details, are true. The stories are intended for an adult audience.

Hosted by Better Said Than Done founder Jessica Robinson, the storytellers at Fairfax’s The Auld Shebeen will include Nick Baskerville (District Heights, MD), Noa Baum (Takoma Park, MD), Geraldine Buckley (Frederick, MD), Mike Kane (Arlington, VA) , Len Kruger (Washington, DC), David Supley Foxworth (Reston, VA), and Cyndi Wish (Arlington, VA). [Note: storyteller bios are an endnote for this column].

“We curated our lineup of storytellers to showcase the diverse dynamics of the people and stories who make up the Better Said Than Done community,” said Robinson.

Storyteller Geraldine Buckley. Photo courtesy of Better Said Than Done.
Storyteller Geraldine Buckley. Photo courtesy of Better Said Than Done.

“Storytelling is a powerful medium,” said storyteller Geraldine Buckley. “In these fraught times where people are so alienated, it acts as a bridge, uniting people who on the surface seem very different. You never look at someone the same way after you hear their story. Truly, the shortest distance between two hearts is a story.”

Buckley plans to tell a tale about a former English Convent schoolgirl who becomes the Protestant Chaplain at the largest men’s prison in Maryland and uses her tea-making skills to build a community behind the bars. Remember again, stories must be true.

“I love performing at Better Said Than Done because of the special audience – people that come from so many different backgrounds and places,” said Noa Baum, a nationally renowned storyteller originally from Israel. “I love that there is so much diversity in ages and that some folks just wander in not even knowing what it’s about and get hooked.”

Baum’s story is based upon her arrival from Israel to America in 1990. It was the month when Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened to attack Israel. It was culture shock to arrive in a quiet, peaceful college town of Davis, California. Her story will be “of crossing over and learning to live in a culture where the perceptions of time, space and values are completely different,” noted Baum.

Other storytellers and their Better Said Than Done stories include Len Kruger with his story about how 1979 was “a summer of discontent and a dinner invitation from a religious cult, which ended in disappointment for pretty much everyone involved.” David Supley Foxworth will tell “the tale of his multi-year quest to win the highest honor bestowed on an American white-collar worker – champion of the office holiday decorating contest.”

Storyteller Nick Baskerville. Photo courtesy of Better Said Than Done.
Storyteller Nick Baskerville. Photo courtesy of Better Said Than Done.

For Nick Baskerville, it will be a story focused on a line in the sand that was drawn with eye contact made. And the question? “Who would win in the great “Daddy/Daughter standoff of 2015?” Cyndi Wish will tell a story describing “postpartum psychology which includes a sadistic nipple clamp, brown cocktails, an unhealthy breakfast snack, and an exclusively breastfed hamster named Judy.” And finally there is this from Mike Kane, “I used to tell a story at bars and parties about a friend of mine. But I learned the hard way that taking liberties with a story, no matter how many times you’ve told it, can blow up on you in the worst way.”

By the way, if storytelling is in your genes, Better Said Than Done offers mentoring and coaching, either one-on-one or with a small group in a highly supportive environment. “Everyone’s got a great story,” Robinson said, “We invite you to share yours.”

Better Said Than Done plays on May 19, 2018, at 7 p.m., downstairs at The Auld Shebeen – 3971 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. Admission is free. Doors open at 6:00 PM. Full bar and dinner menus are available and seating is first come, first served. For more information email Stories@bettersaidthandone.com

Storyteller Bios:

Jessica Robinson is the founder of Better Said Than Done. In addition to Better Said Than Done, Jessica has performed stories for Story District, Tales in the Village, The Grapevine, Stories in the Round, Perfect Liars Club, and George Mason University’s Fall for the Book Festival, and at such venues as Jammin’ Java, Epicure Café, The Auld Shebeen, The Atlas Theater, Town DanceBoutique, and Dance Place. Her short stories have been published in the anthology Sucker for Love, the anthology Roar: True Tales of Women Warriors, and The Northern Virginia Review. She is the author of the urban fantasy novel Caged.

Nick Baskerville is a storyteller who has performed for Better Said Than Done, The Moth, Storyfest Short Slam, Perfect Liars Club, and other public speaking venues. As a member of Toastmasters, Nick has learned and worked on the nuts and bolts of public speaking to deliver maximum impact.

Born and raised in Israel, Noa Baum is an award-winning performer, author and public speaker presenting to diverse audiences from the World Bank and universities to inner city schools and congregations. Her work focuses on the power of narrative to heal and build bridges of peace and understanding. Noa’s new memoir A Land Twice Promised – An Israeli Woman’s Quest for Peace is a winner of the 2017 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award, the 2018 Storytelling World Award, and the 2017 LDS Publishing Professionals Association Award.

Geraldine Buckley has been involved in storytelling, speaking, conducting workshops, and coaching for over thirty years in the US, and internationally. She teaches workshops in the private, corporate, and non-profit sectors, and performs in conferences, colleges, corporations, and house concerts. She has appeared as a featured storyteller in festivals throughout the US, including being featured twice at the prestigious National Storytelling Festival, in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and the Timpanogos Festival in Orem, Utah. Geraldine is frequently heard on Sirius radio. She has recorded three CDs, each of which is a recipient of a gold award from Storytelling World

Mike Kane has been telling stories on stage for more than seven years. In addition to Better Said Than Done, he has appeared in shows hosted by Story District, Story League, Perfect Liars Club, and more.

Len Kruger has performed stories on stage with Better Said Than Done, Story District, and Storyfest Short Slam. He is also a fiction writer and has had short stories published in magazines and journals including Zoetrope All-Story and The Barcelona Review. Len works at the Library of Congress.

David Supley Foxworth has been telling stories since childhood, and seven years ago started telling them for a willing audience. David took a workshop with Better Said Than Done in 2011, and has since become a regular. He has performed at Epicure Café, The Auld Shebeen, The Lake Anne Coffee House, and Jammin’ Java.

Cyndi Wish’s professional endeavors include (among others) being a veterinary technician, a waitress, a teacher, a cook, a migrant farmer, a management consultant, a non-profit administrator, a copy editor, a bookstore clerk, and a housecleaner.