October 2, 2013
By Claire St. Amant
When you start a conversation with a natural storyteller like Nicole Stewart, it's hard to stop. Her questions draw you in, even when you're the one who is theoretically doing the interviewing. "I believe as human beings we all have a need to express ourselves. It's a need like food or water or shelter," Stewart says.
Stewart fell in love with onstage storytelling after she was dropped by her acting agent in Los Angeles. She found a monthly storytelling group and eventually brought the concept back to her hometown of Dallas. Stewart and her husband, Anton Schlesinger, founded Oral Fixation in 2011.
The true-life series features seven people from all walks of life sharing eight-minute stories on idiomatic themes. The show outgrew its first home at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary and is now entertaining audiences at Hamon Hall in the Winspear Opera House at AT&T Performing Arts Center.
As founder, Stewart isn't only talking the talk; she's walking the walk. She takes the stage along with six other speakers on October 28 to offer her take on "bun in the oven."
"When someone is brave enough to share their story, it's healing for them and for the audience," Stewart says.
The former actress and current Pilates instructor discusses her own path of transformation through storytelling at TEDxSMU on October 19. "When you go to the theater, you know it's an actor on a stage reading the words of a play writer, and that can be entertaining and moving," Stewart says. "But a real person's story is totally different. It is so much more intimate."
We recently sat down with Stewart to talk about Oral Fixation (now in its third season), the trouble with memory and going with the flow.
Read the full interview.
# # #