Telling true stories of your own life can be deeply personal and difficult.
But for Kobi Shaw, the beauty of sharing true lived experiences with others outweighs all else.
And that’s exactly what drew her to taking part in Volume One’s upcoming event “True North: Real Wisconsin Stories,” a unique performance that will bring together her and eight other local writers and performers to share stories from their own lives or about the history of the Chippewa Valley.
“I hope people come to experience and appreciate live storytelling and the magic of sharing true life stories and the effect and the impact that they’ve had on you and the people around you,” Shaw, a local variety arts performer known for her juggling and comedy acts, said. “Sharing those personal moments on this larger scale — it just makes the story even more magical and memorable.”
But Friday’s and Saturday’s “True North” performances at Pablo Center at the Confluence will not be the typical storytelling event, consisting of writers simply standing before the audience, telling their stories, said Mike Paulus, a producer for the show.
What makes the effort unique, Paulus said, is that the show, directed by local actor Jake Lindgren, will also feature a live score written and performed by S. Carey of Bon Iver, as well as various other mediums.
Some stories also will feature real, archival videos and photos. Others will feature original films created specifically to help better tell that tale, or live performances by actors, dancers and other various kinds of performers.
“I can honestly say this is the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on here,” said Paulus, who has been with Volume One since 2002. “For me personally, this draws together all the things I love about art and this community.”
Although Shaw has participated in Volume One’s “Let’s Be Honest” storytelling series for years, she said this event is unique in how it utilizes mediums of all kinds and thrives on collaboration, despite the personal nature of the stories many of the performers will be telling.
Shaw’s story will feature music, visuals and actors, who will perform alongside her, which has given her a new perspective on her story.
Not only are the mediums diverse, but the featured stories themselves are too. Some are funny, some are heartwrenching, Paulus said. Some are even historical, he said, pointing to Jodie Arnold’s story which will explore the life of Eau Claire’s infamous “Cave Lady” urban legend that actually happens to be true.
Shaw’s story, which she describes as “difficult to tell,” will revolve around her profession as a performer. New York Times bestselling author Nickolas Butler describes his story, about deer hunting with family, as comedic and light-hearted in the midst of a “heavy” news cycle of late.
Butler’s tale will feature a cartoon based on it, which Butler describes as similar to “The Ren & Stimpy Show” of the 1990s.
“Having just seen the cartoon that’s going to accompany my story, I have a feeling that these performances are going to be really memorable and special,” Butler said. “I think there’s a really positive spirit of collaboration happening in the community right now.”