#VIDEO: The Art of Storytelling with Shannon Cason

By: Jonnita Condra

Shannon Cason is quite the multi-tasker. By day,  he runs a men’s custom clothing shop, Sebastien Grey, in the south loop. By night, Shannon Cason, is a comical, storyteller, who has shared his stories all over Chicago.

Peep the interview.

How do you define storytelling?

 Everyone loves stories. Everyone has stories. Storytelling as an art and entertainment is taking these stories and making them entertaining for a listening audience. That’s the challenge! Taking stories you may tell at the dinner table or at the bar to a friend and giving it enough structure to take an audience on a journey with you. So storytelling isn’t just having a great story, but having a great story and telling it well. It doesn’t even have to be that great a story if it’s told well.

What kinds of stories do you tell?

 The stories I tell are about my life. I try to be as vulnerable as I can be comfortable with telling a crowd of strangers. And that’s usually pretty vulnerable. I’ve told stories about my kids, my divorce, my gambling addiction, going to the dentist, and my drug addict neighbors who used to live below me. I’ll find a story in a lot of experiences and then craft it into a story with a beginning, middle, and end and a definite mood.

 Why storytelling? As opposed to other avenues (i.e. writing)

 I like to write. I write the stories I tell, but telling a story changes in front of an audience, as opposed to the written word. I do comedy too, but comedy audiences have a shorter attention span. They want laughs. Storytelling audiences want to be taken on a journey and have more patience, but they can be tough too, if a story is unclear. Storytelling is my mainstay, but I write and do comedy. I try to stay versatile. I share my stories on a iTunes podcast called Homemade Stories also.

How did you begin storytelling?

I had no idea that storytelling was a thing. I went to a show called Story Club in Chicago. I saw the host, Dana Norris, tell a story without reading it off of paper. I tried it at an open mic the following month, and I’ve been telling stories ever since. It’s become a strong community. Storytelling has become a very popular entertainment form all around the country, especially in Chicago, New York, and LA.

Where do you perform?
I’ve told stories at venues large and small. I’ve performed at The Chicago Theatre, Park West, various stages, and on both coasts. I’ve hosted shows throughout the country for the most popular storytelling organization, The Moth (themoth.org). I’ve been featured on radio and popular podcasts. I host my own show in Chicago called Do Not Submit, an open mic for storytellers or anyone interested. 
 

Check out Shannon Cason’s story about getting caught texting a chick he met at the club, by his girlfriend.  Pretty funny, by the way.

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