Recap of “The One that Got Away”
July 9, 2014
by Lori Keong
With a theme such as the “One that Got Away,” it’s easy to make a gut assumption on the stories shared. Historically the phrase has evoked associations with bitter romance and tears on a train platform, and for this reason, the lineup of Rabbit Box’s July 9 show was surprising and illuminating for its varied, subtle iterations on the theme. Only one story, the crackerjack’s, truly bore the skeleton of a traditional romantic tragedy, but, well, you find out it’s not really the stuff of a Nicholas Sparks novel, either.
Emcee Alex White served as our gracious, comical host for the night, beginning the evening with a hop-skipping dance and leading the crowd in a call-and-response of “BAAA”s. If it sounded like he was conducting a chorus of sheep, his exercise was also an illustration of the importance of audience participation to a Rabbit Box story. It reminds you that storytelling is not just a one-way interaction between teller and audience, but is instead something closer to a conversation.
Ansley Hayes kicked off the night with a wonderfully descriptive story about a mare—no, no, not a gelding, mind you—with an attitude. English major Hayes is equally as well-versed in horses, and when given the opportunity, she thinks she’s got the stuff to tame a particularly hard-headed but beautiful brat-of-a-horse. She may or may not succeed in her goals but learns a lot more about herself and who is truly “the one who got away.”
Following shortly after was Hunt Brumby, who related his life-long, complicated relationship with his hometown of Murphy, NC. Murphy becomes almost a dynamic character in the story, shaping Brumby’s stifled beginnings, urging his escape from the town and luring him to return as a wiser, worldlier outsider. Murphy shifts and changes along with Brumby, challenging his presumptions and complicating his aims of finding a sense of home within its boundaries.
Musician/physician Neal Priest delivered a nail-biting E.R. drama of a man who had made a desperate, split-second decision that landed him in critical care. Priest, the man’s E.R. doctor, was determined to save him. Colorfully describing the razor-thin line between life and death, Priest shows how a little can go a long way in the right moment and what joy may be found in redemption.
The Crackerjack storyteller for the evening was Paul Quick, who deftly shared his story like a Rabbit Box veteran. Beginning and ending his hilarious tale with an exclamation of “Thank God!” he revealed the details of a college love thwarted by the usual culprits: mismatched aspirations, travels abroad and — of course — hunky lawyer-types with money.
If in Britain, “women come and go talking of Michelangelo,” it seems in France tourists walk fro-and-to speaking of the Pompidou. In Robert Alan Black‘s account of his travels to the City of Lights — Paris! — he settles for himself the running debate on the artistic merits of the famous modern art museum. This story not only involves aesthetic tastes but also details the quirks of travel in France, as Black earns his nickname of “the Wanderer” meandering from one dazzling attraction to another.
Jami Mays tells a poignant story that captures the pain of losing a loved one to a regressive mental illness: in this case, Alzheimer’s. Mays puts the disease in perspective by describing how the mental deterioration of her grandfather, a former Marine, weakens him and causes him to become more and more of a stranger to her.
Ophelia Culpepper began her story at a familiar locale, Horton’s Drugstore downtown, during an equally familiar moment of frustration with life and her accomplishments. Culpepper’s story backtracks through her academic life, fraught with setbacks and struggles, but redeemed by breakthroughs in art and deep insights in philosophy, two of Culpepper’s specialties. When remembering times of hardship, it’s sometimes difficult to say exactly who or what was slipping away, yet perhaps the important thing is to know you survived.
There’s nothing quite like the frenzy of preparing for a wedding, especially when you’re one of the bridal party and even more troubling, when you’re the very pregnant maid of honor. Describing a nightmare straight from the annals of “Bridezillas,” Sarah Beth Nelson was our last storyteller of the evening. She recalls having to wait on a custom bridesmaid dress whose ETA, she’s promised, is “any minute now” and yet again . . . “any minute now.” When it comes down to the wire, she has to make a sacrifice that teaches her to count her blessings.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Melting Point for “The One That Got Away.” Note Rabbit Box’s new logo, courtesy of Roger Stahl, Stephanie Aguilar and Jessica Magnarella of mPrint Design Studio. We hope you’ll join us next month on August 13th to hear a slate of accounts relating to the theme “My Brush with Death.”