By Sophia Ricco
Delve into the funny, crazy, unbelievable, and at times heart wrenching stories that make up nine storytellers’ family histories at “Every Family’s Got One (a story, that is),” premiering its first show on Oct. 11 at Cinema Arts Center in Huntington.
Producers Barbara Herel and Kathy Radigan have curated a lineup of performers who are ready to dive into their families’ pasts. While working together on another storytelling venture, “Listen to Your Mother,” the producers discovered they lived near each other on Long Island. In the search of a new project to pursue, Herel came up with the idea to put together a show centered around family. Radigan was completely on board.
“I just thought of ‘what do I love to hear?’ and I love to hear people’s crazy stories about their families, I definitely have a few of my own to tell,” Herel said.
As performers themselves, Herel and Radigan, will be on stage, along with Maria Adcock, Lisa Leshaw, Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, Kate Mayer, Lance Werth, Neil Kramer, and Tony Mennuto.
“We’re not only showcasing our work, we’ve really been reaching out to incredible writers and storytellers all over the place,” Herel said.
Herel and Radigan have been working since the spring of 2017 to develop their project. They launched a website in January with weekly blog posts covering all sorts of topics about family.
“We really come from so many different parts of the universe - politically, socially, economically - and yet family is still family. We all have those moments that are universal,” Radigan said.
The blog went to the next level when they began to host a weekly Facebook live. This allowed them to connect with the public, which is what storytelling is all about, according to Radigan.
“It’s a way for people to get to know us and consider themselves part of our family by allowing them to see us,” Herel said. “It’s really nice when people chime in and we can see them.”
Once they put the show together, they knew they wanted to bring it to the local community. Five of the nine performers come from Long Island but each bring a different perspective. Still, Herel and Radigan believe people can relate to each story in some way.
“They’re so universal, I can’t imagine anybody listening to any of them and not feeling something,” Radigan said. “I really think that’s the most beautiful part and I’m hoping people leave feeling more connected.”
Each storyteller will have five to eight minutes to weave their tale. One after the other, the stories will build on each other.
“If you hear a story and even if you didn’t have that same exact experience, it’s going to do something to you, it’ll inspire you or make you laugh,” Herel said. “You’re really gonna have an empathetic moment.”
Herel and Radigan found that the nine stories they chose fit together “like a puzzle.”
The cast has formed a family of their own. As defined by the producers, family is “the people in your life who support you”.
“In these fractured times, Barbara and I feel one thing you can always talk to people about is a family story,” Radigan said.
Tickets can be purchased online at Everyfamilysgotone.com for $35, or at the door for $40. A portion of sales will be donated to the Visiting Nurse Service of Suffolk County.
The show is for mature audiences.