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Educated: Stories from the school of life

Wednesday, May 11  8:00 - 10:00 (doors open at 7:00)

Big Shot Piano Lounge, Arlington Heights

"Life can only be understood backwards. Unfortunately, it must be lived forward." - Søren Kierkegaard

Far be it from us to argue with Kierkegaard! Still, we keep trying...and we keep learning. This month, stories about taking the SAT at 58, getting schooled by your own students, learning that "A" is for Acceptance,  graduating against all odds, and lessons from the school of hard knocks. 

In keeping with protocol at storytelling shows, First Person Live requires all ticketholders to show proof of vaccination the night of the show.  Masks are optional.

Don Hall
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Diane Kastiel is the producer, director, and host of First Person Live. A writer and storyteller from Chicago, she’s a three-time winner of the National Public Radio’s Moth StorySLAM; her work has been featured on the Moth Radio Hour, its podcast, and at special events for WBEZ, NPR’s Chicago affiliate. Diane has told stories on stage at The Second City, the Park West, Victory Gardens and other theaters as well as comedy clubs, art galleries, the basement of a tattoo parlor - she even did a show in the middle of the woods! Since launching First Person Live, Diane works with libraries, community centers and homeless shelters to bring storytelling to a wider audience, and leads regular storytelling workshops at Northwestern University. Diane is an alumna of The Second City Conservatory and the University of Chicago’s Great Books program. She also has an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management…just in case. 

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Cassie Lee is new to storytelling but not new to performing. An actor on hiatus, she’s thrilled to have found a new creative outlet through personal narrative storytelling. She loves listening to stories as much as telling them, and regularly attends shows around Chicago. Recovering from a career in corporate America, Cassie is now happily employed in healthcare operations.

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Clifton Johnson is a recovering social worker who currently leads internal communications at Teach For America. During his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga, Cliff taught a youth theater troupe named “Tala Kei Kapa Na’a To Ki Mala,” which roughly translates to a warning about being eaten by devils. His other theater experience includes teaching youth improv in Chicago and writing/performing numerous plays. Cliff’s previously won a Moth StorySLAM and a national Peace Corps storytelling competition. Cliff enjoys writing fiction, watching movies, and making/consuming enough pizza to cancel out whatever exercise he got that day.

Nadia Felecan

Nadia Felecan grew up in Romania, Transylvania. Born the year Nadia Comanici earned the first-ever perfect score in gymnastics, she was named in her honor. Sadly, it didn’t take: Nadia Felecan is the least coordinated person you’ll ever meet (just go out dancing with her!). At age 21, Nadia moved to Chicago, where she earned a bachelor's degree in French and two masters degrees, one in Special Education and one in Linguistics. She is a fluent speaker of four languages (!), and mother to three boys and two cats. A teacher by day, Nadia is striving to become a storyteller by night. Her other loves: cake and motorcycles.

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Allyson Jannotta is a Texan living in Arlington Heights. She’s a professional life coach and occasional substitute teacher - but one month a year she returns to Dallas and works as a carny. No really: She’s a co-owner of two funnel cake booths at the state fair and has many stories to tell about it. Allyson has worked as a news producer for NBC, a script supervisor for television commercial and feature films, and was a local PTA president twice and lived to tell about it. She loves spending time with her husband Tony and son Cosmo who is a junior at Prospect High School. Allyson is new to storytelling and excited to make her debut at First Person Live. acclaim.

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As a pathologist, Elizabeth Brown spent hundreds of hours hunched over either a microscope or a dead body. She then worked as a consultant to the medical device industry writing technical reports - all dry as dust and utterly humorless. Original thoughts were few, as all statements had to be referenced. Spreading her wings to write creative nonfiction has been a liberating joy. Elizabeth focuses on personal narrative writing and storytelling that combines humor with pathos to examine the human condition. 

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Peter Travis is excited to be back on the First Person Live stage. Their stories have been featured in various shows around Chicago, including the Moth StorySLAMs and GrandSLAMs. Currently, Peter is completing their Masters of Education at DePaul University. Peter also teaches a fantastic group of middle schoolers at Morton School of Excellence in Chicago - Go Mustangs! As a proud supporter of live storytelling, Peter encourages you to support First Person Live in whatever capacity you can. 

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Paul Teodo is a retired healthcare executive. Born and raised on Chicago's south side, he’s been telling stories in real life for 67 years and on stage for the past eight. Paul is a five-time Moth StorySLAM winner and a Moth GrandSLAM Champion, invited to perform in New York at the prestigious Moth Ball and featured on CBS Sunday Morning. His novels, "Pastaman," and “Call Me Z” are available on Amazon. Paul raised two great sons as a single dad and is a lifelong dog lover.

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