There are good stories and bad stories and there are good storytellers and bad storytellers, and you can find a combination of all these on Sunday nights at Caplansky’s Deli. It’s an evening of humour, honesty and humanity. Oh, and the food is great too.
Storytelling has been around for centuries. Long before blogs, television, films and even books, storytelling was used by ancient cultures as a form of entertainment, education and cultural preservation. Technology has given us ways of recording history and tradition, but oral stories still have their place, and a good storyteller is held in high regard.
Gather three charismatic, creative, and funny people together over smoked meat and beer and something is bound to brew. Marilla and Michael Wex first met Zane Caplansky when they visited the Monarch Tavern to try his authentic smoked meat. They were smitten at first bite. Fast forward a few years to Zane approaching the Wexs with the idea of holding a Storytelling evening at his Caplansky’s Deli on College Street. And now, Storytelling at Caplansky’s Deli recently celebrated its one year anniversary.
New York Times bestselling authour, raconteur and Toronto storytelling legend, Michael Wex and his wife, actor, stand-up comic and award-winning voice artist Marilla Wex tag-team the hosting duties of the evening and Zane will often tell a story if he’s around and in the mood, which he usually is.
There are always a handful of scheduled storytellers, but otherwise the mike is open to anyone who wants to tell a story. With a belly full of smoked meat, who doesn’t have the gumption to stand behind that microphone?
If you want to tell a story at Storytelling on Sundays at Caplansky’s Deli, there are a few simple rules you must follow:
- Stories should be 7-10 minutes in length.
- No reading is allowed. You’re telling a story, not reading a story.
- PLEASE, no unappetizing details. You don’t want to put people off their smoked meat.
- If there are children in the restaurant, keep your story clean. This is a no-brainer, right?
You never know what you might hear on a given night. Stories run the gamut from an amusing situation that happened on an ordinary day, to a moment on a movie set, to a series of events that changed the course of someone’s life. That’s the beauty of a story: it can be engaging, poignant, laugh-out-loud funny, awkward or shocking and a good story is often a combination of these things.
According to Michael, a bad story, even if it doesn’t break any of the above rules, is one filled with extraneous detail. The best stories are the ones that have good flow and keep the audience engaged.
Think you’d like to stand up and tell a story at Storytelling? Write it down first, in point form and cut out the unnecessary details. Practice telling it. Then fill your belly with some of Zane’s delicious smoked meat and get up behind that microphone.
Storytelling at Caplansky’s Deli
356 College Street
Sunday’s at 8 pm
For more information about Storytelling at Caplansky Deli’s, visit their Facebook page
*Photos courtesy of Marilla Wex