¡Qué sorpresa! Ex Fabula’s Spectacular show, “Surprise/Sorpresa” at the Historic Turner Hall Ballroom was such a treat! From the always magnificent femcee duo of Leah Delaney & Dasha Kelly; to the amazing group of specially selected storytellers who bared their mixed bag of too true, personal stories into the mic. 

Ben Merens was first at bat, sharing his story of sunny skies, smooth & rough sailing and father/son bonding. A boat may have been sacrificed to the wave gods but neither man nor seagulls were harmed that day. Next, as part of the Puente project, a partnership with CORE/El Centro and UWM Translation and Interpreting Program with support from UWM Cultures and Communities, we welcomed the first of two Spanish-language storytellers to the stage; Dulce Lagunas was accompanied by Abby Varela, a Spanish teacher and UWM MAFLL Interpreting student. Together, they shared Dulce’s tale of workplace romance, declarations of “cuando los conejos vuelen” (when rabbits fly) followed by a Las Vegas wedding and a honeymoon sorpresa. Yetunde Bronson‘s tale of childhood scares (jumping out of clothes racks & surprising people) and life scares (a traumatic loss) amused and hushed the crowd.

After a short break, Joelisa Castillo was joined by interpreter Maria Fernanda Valerio, also from UWM’s MAFLL program, for another story in Spanish. Joelisa’s shared how a childhood move to Milwaukee has led to her daughter planning to follow in her footsteps. What better way for a child to compliment their parent. Adam Carr’s story showed a glimpse into what used to make him “only the best in my darkest moments” and how it felt to just want to shine. Last, but certainly not least, Mia Noel graced the stage. Her story about her first day of substitute teaching sixth graders, complete with pranks, bribery and a practice drill, pleased the laughing audience.

In addition to the regular UltraShorts, the audience also heard Spanish language UltraShorts – read in Spanish and then interpreted into English by UWM Interpreting Student Annalisa Nash Fernandez.

The final bow. Photo by Art Montes.

Ex Fabula Surprise-Sorpresa final bow.

The final bow. Photo by Art Montes.

Executive Director Megan McGee also took to the stage, thanking the storytellers and those in attendance, in person & in spirit, for their time and continued support of Ex Fabula. It is because of continued efforts & support from our members, volunteers, sponsors & local communities that Ex Fabula is enjoying its most successful year to date, with new workshops and collaborations that have given more Milwaukeeans a voice.  Megan shared news of $6 in honor of Season Six, a fundraising campaign which will permit Ex Fabula to expand its programming, continuing to unite communities through the art of storytelling.Your support encourages the on-going development of community partnerships. Remember, supporting and investing in local organizations like Ex Fabula means funds remain local, creating a positive ripple effect in the community and on our local economy.

Thanks to the storytellers for sharing your stories and to the emcees, volunteers and members for their efforts that made this event possible. Thanks also go to all of our season sponsors, community partners and Ex Fabulites past, present and future. Remember, it’s Story. Stage. YOU.