Hard to believe it, but Once Upon A Slam has just started its third season. Why, it seems like just yesterday the brand new baby story slam was born and took its first steps at the Mercury Lounge. Now here we are, entering toddlerhood. *sigh*
Okay, enough baby analogy already! We did get the season off to a grand start tonight down in Overkill, the Merc’s underground level. There were 8 slammers on the sign-up list, the 5 judges were easily persuaded to take on that most important of roles, the audience filled the seats and we even had some wonderful festive outfits thanks to Catwoman Faye and Feathered Beauty Sarah. Even more exciting, fully half the slam list were first-time slammers. While it is always great to see familiar faces, we also love to see the fresh blood take the mic. Dedicated story slammers need to start somewhere after all.
Red Phoenix , our feature storyteller for the evening, got things started by acting as the sacrificial teller. She told a great tale about Aaron Kelly – The Most Stubborn Man in the World. Well, that Aaron hung stubbornly on and the whole time penalty thing was ably demonstrated with a -7.5 deduction. A great preview for Red Phoenix’s feature set nonetheless.
Amy Smeltzer was the first name out of the hat on her first occasion slamming. She gave us a great ghost story passed on to her from her father. Great to see family stories passed down! She scored a 24.6, a good number for being in the bullet position.
Rick Czapelka was another of our newbies and he told a great personal story about the ingenuity of roofers in making over steel-toed work boots into high-class high-gloss footwear. As you might guess, it didn’t really work out in the end – hairy boots indeed. Rick scored a 23.9.
Next up was OUAS veteran Robin Le William North with his signature style with a touch of the surreal. This one followed our young man to a tulip farm in the Netherlands complete with adventures chosen by dart throwing. Sadly, time was not on Robin’s side and after a sizeable time penalty, he scored 20.1.
OUAS resident poet Array-of-Words was the 4th teller up and reminding us of the upcoming Remembrance Day told the story of his grandfather in the Philippines during WWII. He scored at very strong 26.6, the story definitely resonated with the judges.
Our third new slammer of the night was Amal El-Mohtar who also delivered a poetic story, answering her lover’s question about why she hadn’t written a poem for him yet. (Hint, poem writing is often triggered by hurt.) She came in right behind Array-of-Words with a 26.5.
David Merleau told “Jack and the Princess.” Not your typical Jack tale, this one doesn’t end well for the Princess. He dealt with the distraction of people poking their head in the door of the venue to see what was going on (and an audience member having an AHA moment), narrowly avoiding a time penalty. He scored 25.2.
Murray McGregor showed us that sometimes no news is in fact bad news with his tightly told version of a old tale of woe. In trying to break the bad news to a neighbour gradually, the misfortune piles on one on top of the other until he finally learns his wife has left him with the hired man. Ouch! The score was 24.9
Our last first-time slammer was also the last of the round, with Kiran Sachdev taking the mic. He told a story about finding the perfect jacket and scored a 23.8.
So the slam ended with Array-of Words taking the win, Amal El-Mohtar right behind and David Merleau coming in third. It was a great slam, with a fantastically wide range of stories and styles of telling them. We hope to see all the first timers become second timers soon.
The feature from Red Phoenix did not disappoint! She took the stage attired in a top hat, corset, long skirt and shoes with a bat motif, really in the spooky spirit. She gave us tales of murder and revenge with Mr. Fox, love lost and then found with deadly result in Johnny and Elizabeth, the hazards of incurring the curse of a Roman goddess (a particularly gruesome outcome) and a brave young girl who triumphs over the forces of death in Mary Culhaine and the Dead Man. All suitably gruesome, spooky or downright horrific for a show on Halloween weekend. We heard that the voice she gave to the undead thing in Mary Culhaine made 2 ladies in the audience hold each other’s hands in fright. There were also a number of squeaks of either fear or delight to be heard throughout the set. High praise for a spooky story indeed! We are sad that Red Phoenix has to head back to England, so soon but we look forward to the next time she comes to town.
All in all, a great night with great stories!
Stay tuned for the update on the next show. We may be making some changes to OUAS, including the possibility of reducing the frequency of the shows from monthly to another schedule. As soon as the next show is set, we will be sure to let you know right away.