Arts & EntertainmentStage

Your First Time at the Story Hole

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Baring it all at Rec Room’s new LGBTQ storytelling showcase.

By Ryan Leach Contributing Columnist
By Ryan Leach
Contributing Columnist

Pride Month offers many opportunities to celebrate, but one theatrical event added to the lineup this year is a must-see.

Featuring LGBTQ voices and stories, Story Hole promises plenty of laughs—and maybe even a tear or two.

Show creators Kathryn Way, Charles Swan, and yours truly—along with producer Stephanie Wachs of Rec Room—turn the spotlight on a handful of writers and performers sharing stories with the theme of “My First Time.”

“Story Hole is a genius name,” says Way, a well-known comedian and performer in Houston. “It’s a little raunchy, a little campy, and it’s super-gay—just like our show.” Way is also an artist-in-residence at Rec Room, and performs there throughout the year.

Swan, a local director, says Story Hole will expose the audience to “off limits” stories that people oftentimes keep to themselves. “The LGBTQ community is tight-knit because of our shared experiences, and so I hope we are able to strengthen the bonds of our community as well as let new audiences in,” Swan says. “Story sharing has often been used as a means to unify.”

The show debuts June 22 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and the creators hope to replicate it on a regular basis. “It is no accident that Story Hole premieres during Pride Month,” Swan says. “The show concept centers around LGBTQ voices.”

The show’s creators hope that Story Hole will find a permanent home at Rec Room, the new experimental performance space downtown. “One of our goals at Rec Room is to be an accessible and inclusive art space,” Wachs says. “We aim to build a sense of community as much as we aim to make great art. This show is a natural fit. Storytelling brings people together. It unites. This is what Pride Month is all about. It’s an exciting time to debut the show.”

The show will feature a handful of entertainers performing their own stories, as well as stories contributed by others. “We want to celebrate queer voices and entertain people,” Way says. “The show will feature an inclusive and diverse group telling intimate stories that are hilarious and full of heart. The ‘My First Time’ theme covers all firsts: first kisses, first threesomes, first time coming out. Everyone has firsts, and it’s a great theme for a first show.”

Although Story Hole will focus on LGBTQ stories and storytellers, the event is meant for all audiences—even straight people. “The straights can come celebrate our lives and stories, too,” Way says.

“I hope people are entertained, but I also hope that people will see the collective narrative in that we are all awkward, interesting, weird, beautiful humans on this journey together,” Swan says. “It’s those beautiful awkward moments of life that prove we are more alike than different. If we can share stories with one another to help people feel less alone, it will have been a success.”

Story Hole comes at an important time for LGBTQ people, and gives Houston audiences an opportunity to be entertained by an array of life experiences that all have one thing in common: a queer point of view.

We often brag about Houston’s diversity, but we don’t have many opportunities to showcase that and really listen to each other. The LGBTQ community is represented by the rainbow flag because we are as diverse as the colors on our flag.

If Story Hole becomes a regular event, the creators plan to curate themes that will showcase more and more of Houston’s diverse LGBTQ community. Those wishing to contribute stories to future Story Hole shows should contact the Rec Room at 713.344.1291.

Rec Room is located at 100 Jackson St. in downtown Houston. Admission is $10, with a portion of proceeds going to support the artist-in-residence program at Rec Room. Tickets are tax-deductible.

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Ryan Leach

Ryan Leach is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine. Follow him on Medium at www.medium.com/@ryan_leach.
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