Senior Writer-in-Residence Jon Papernick had always wanted to do a public storytelling show. But he had yet to get it off the ground and running because of the need to find a space, and the other logistics that come with planning events.
Along came the Coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders, which negated the ability to hold in person events. So Papernick, with his co-host/wife, Kim Koontz, launched the Doing It In Public storytelling show.
“I just like the idea of sitting around a digital campfire listening to people tell stories,” said Papernick, who was a finalist in Massmouth’s 10th Anniversary Big Mouth Off Story Slam Championship. “It’s a really uncertain and lonely time, and being able to connect to people through stories is a really powerful way to ease the loneliness.”
The next Doing It In Public show will be streamed on Saturday, May 2, through Zoom (meeting ID: 962 8342 0206). Along with Papernick and Koontz, there will be numerous other storytellers, including three Emerson alums: Scott Johnson ’19 MFA, Grace Waronker, ’19, and Allison Grinberg Funes ’11.
“We have had all kinds of stories, some of them very funny, some deadly serious, some edgy, some comforting, just stories that people feel they need to share,” said Papernick, who said he hasn’t told any stories yet, but that his wife told a story about the time she was trying to be a surrogate mother.
Papernick is editing previous shows to put them on YouTube for people to watch.
“I have been fortunate enough to have met a number of great storytellers so I have had many of them on the show, and sometimes people who watch the show reach out to me and sometimes they end up telling later. We’re always looking for good tellers,” said Papernick.