Arts & Culture

These 7 women were strangers. Now, they’ll come together as sisters for Starry Story Night

Starry-tellers Anne McDonald, Cheryl Slavin, Elisabeth McKetta, Erika Warner, Erin Riley, Jen Adams and Sherry Briscoe rehearse for Starry Story Night, a fundraiser for Boise’s Story Story Night. Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at JUMP in Boise.
Starry-tellers Anne McDonald, Cheryl Slavin, Elisabeth McKetta, Erika Warner, Erin Riley, Jen Adams and Sherry Briscoe rehearse for Starry Story Night, a fundraiser for Boise’s Story Story Night. Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at JUMP in Boise. Veronica LeMaster

Stars will align Oct. 30 as seven local women come together as one to become the storytellers of Starry Story Night: The Pleiades.

The host of the event, world class puppeteer and Garden City artrepreneur Jodi Eichelberger, has taken the stories of the women and interwoven them into a single script for the first time in Story Story Night history.

All stories are nonfiction, as the individuals personally speak to themes of assault, invisibility and sisterhood inspired from Greek mythology and the story of the Pleiades. Essentially, each story, inspired by the stars in the sky, can stand on its own, but together they connect to form a constellation, Eichelberger said.

Though the stories reflect tough subjects, the storytellers believe it’s important to share their experiences. The women are diverse — some with a background in storytelling and acting and some with no history of public speaking.

At the second rehearsal, the onetime strangers all shared deep positivity for their stories.

“It’s like a form of therapy,” one storyteller said, while another said it’s empowering to tell her story. They were all shocked at the ways their stories connected with one another.

“I heard gasps at the first rehearsal,” Eichelberger said.

There will be no visuals included in the performance; Eichelberger said it’s important to have the audience focused on listening. That shouldn’t be difficult since the theater is in the round, meaning the stage will be surrounded by the audience.

The Boise Philharmonic String Quartet will perform before the show and will also incorporate music into the storytelling to bring more depth, Eichelberger explained.

“One of the things I’m proud of is how they already know their connection (with each other),” Eichelberger said. “I’m honored to be trusted with these stories.”

On a brighter note, the stories all end with a feeling of hope, resolution or state of grace. The script weaves the stories together and goes back and forth between the storytellers.

Some of the stories are funny and mix humor with deep emotions. Some start at a high point. Others start at a low. All aim to give the audience variety.

An important aspect to this show, the storytellers explained, is that the women are there to share the stories with the audience now, despite what happened to them then.

Starry Story Night was created as a fundraiser show as part of Story Story Night in 2013. It’s also a fundraiser this year. The original Starry Story Night featured a handful of Boise’s luminaries, or individuals that were recognized in the community.

Eichelberger said that approach elevated only some people’s stories. Now he hopes to find strangers and everyday people to incorporate into his show.

“Everyone has a story,” Eichelberger said, “making you a part of the cluster too.”

Starry Story Night will start at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) on Oct. 30 at JUMP. Tickets are $20 in advance on Eventbrite or $25 at the door.

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