Storytelling has remained the primary mode of entertainment in societies across the globe. Even as technology has changed the delivery systems. Yet to this day the oral tradition of storytelling lives on with many , including Hewlett resident Tracey Segarra and her show, “Now You’re Talking.”
Roughly four years ago, Segarra’s husband, Fred, introduced her to the Moth Radio Hour, a National Public Radio program, where people share stories from their own lives without scripts, notes or any accompaniment. A former reporter, Segarra has always been interested in listening to and telling stories, “I always loved memoirs when I was growing up,” she said. “Our library had Harpo Marx, of the Marx Brothers, and Sammy Davis Jr.’s autobiographies. I read both of them and always found something compelling about true stories.”
The Moth hosts story slams, where different people tell a true story and then a group of judges determines the winner. Segarra took part in one nearly two and a half years ago, and won after telling the story of a late miscarriage she had that ultimately ended with the birth of her twin daughters, Jessica and Lilly, now 18.
Since then, she’s held her own shows titled, “Now You’re Talking,” where she features other talented storytellers. She’s sold out the Merrick Theater, the Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore and more. Segarra has also hosted open mic events and workshops for people who want to improve their storytelling skills.
Tom Capasso, another regular listener of The Moth and a Wantagh resident, has attended Segarra’s workshop and performed at the open mics. “She does such a great job of coaxing out any stories you have but may not have thought about,” he said. “And she’s warm and welcoming when she emcees these events … She really is great.”
Without giving away her entire seminar, Segarra explained that the best advice when telling stories is, “To be authentic,” she said. “Don’t memorize your stories, those often come off as very canned and phony … Be vulnerable; show them a time that you failed. The best stories are about times that you failed and you learned something.”
Carolyn Lichter, a Bay Shore resident, said that she first attended an event when she lived in Rockville Center after she saw an ad in the Herald. Lichter said that, “There was a small group the first time we went, but it got more and more crowded every time until it was standing room only.” She added that what keeps her coming back is that, “You’ll never know if you’ll laugh or cry or both.”
Segarra said that she hopes to start a podcast also under the title of “Now You’re Talking,” where she would have people from all across Long Island tell their stories before interviewing them. Until then, check her website — http://traceysegarra.com — for more information about upcoming shows, workshops and more.
Her next event is Dec. 15 at My Father’s Place at 121 Old Northern Blvd. in Roslyn. Segarra will be one of six storytellers to recount their tales of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the storytelling begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 at myfathersplace.showare.com. There is also a $25 minimum for a food and drink per person.