The Witness Stand

The Witness Stand: Balderdash! A Truth-Stretching Storyslam at Courthouse Pub

Wednesday, April 1, 2020   6:00 PM-8:00 PM

at Courthouse Pub – 1001 S. 8th Street, Manitowoc

Sometimes someone will say something that sounds perfectly plausible and it turns out to be an outrageous lie. Other times, someone will say something that sounds completely outrageous and it turns out to be the absolute truth. Join us for “Balderdash!”—the fifth installment of “The Witness Stand,” MPL’s & Courthouse Pub’s StorySlam series at CHP—and let your storytelling soar. Tell a true story that sounds like a lie or tell a lie that sounds like a truth. It doesn’t matter! Just be convincing! The individual that fools the most people will be richly rewarded for their sneakiness and trickeration with a $30 gift certificate to Courthouse Pub!

Live storytelling is a slightly different creature than other live performances. Real stories have a way of revealing simple human truths and strengthening communities in a simple, yet extremely powerful way.

The important thing to remember is that this is an evening of true storytelling—not stand-up comedy, not poetry, not a platform for political manifestos or lectures, or doing a reading from an as-of-yet published post-apocalyptic neo-tribal zombie/cyborg saga. It’s a true story zone.

While five minutes may seem like a lot of time, it goes quickly. We’ll have a timekeeper to give you cues to keep you on-track. Keep in mind, though—they will cut you off at five minutes, so practicing your story is a necessity.

With that in mind, we contacted Ex Fabula—Milwaukee’s prominent StorySlam organization ( to ask their permission to use their guidelines for how to best prepare for your story time because they have it down to a science! Without further ado, here are some helpful hints for getting your story ready to tell:

  1. Pick a story that you love. Your story should be true, personal, and related at least peripherally to the theme.
  2. Tell it to several different people to gauge interest.
  3. Journal about the story or create an outline. Focus on the moments that push the story forward; cut meandering tangents that don’t.
  4. Edit. Ask yourself:  How did this experience change me? Include places for self-reflection in your story.  How is this story universal? What larger themes does my story touch upon? Does my story have details that make the story come alive? Add them.
  5. Pare the story down to an outline with a clear beginning (may tie into the theme), several plot points or turning points in the middle, and a clear ending (that resolves the story) including the final line of your story. Don’t be afraid to get into the emotional meat of your story right away. The audience will always be very supportive so there’s no need to warm them up.
  6. Rehearse your story. Time yourself; trim the story as needed so it is 4½-5 minutes long. Please note that you will be cut off if you exceed the allotted time. Practice out loud until you can tell it without notes, props or cues in under 5 minutes. When you think you are ready, rehearse some more.

We can’t wait to hear your story at “The Witness Stand”!