The Moth brings its storytelling charms to the Englert Theatre this weekend

The Moth!
George Dawes Green takes the stage at a previous Moth event. — photo by Denise Ofelia Mangen

IPR’s The Moth in Iowa City

Englert Theatre – Friday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ($15-50)

Out of a longing for Georgia nights, trading stories on the screened-in porch and moths slipping through ripped mesh to get at the light, George Dawes Green decided to host a reading at his New York apartment. Eventually word spread, and the need for bigger venues forced The Moth Radio Hour out of Green’s living room and into cafés and theaters all over the country.

The Moth invites novice and professional storytellers to share their life experiences. Tying each story together is truth and memory, and cue cards or crinkling papers aren’t allowed. Stories must be recited sans script, which imbues The Moth with a unique blend of performance-monologue, documentary and literary nonfiction.

The works of Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey, were passed down orally from bard to bard before they were ever written down. The rhythmic iambic hexameter and repeated epithets like Man-Killing Hector and Apollo Who Strikes From Afar helped the performer remember and recite the epic poems. But the audience, then and now, listens to stories, true or fiction, because we learn something about experience, about memory, about surviving, engaging and appreciating this wonderful mess of a life we all endure.

Each Moth starts with a theme, and on Friday, Feb. 21, Iowa City will be treated to The Moth’s take on the Heart of Darkness. Come join Iowa Public Radio, The Englert Theater and The Moth’s host, Peter Aguero, for an evening of unexpected, dark, true stories.

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