When professional storytellers Bil Lepp, Kim Weitkamp and Andy Irwin step off stage after a performance, they often are quickly descended upon by audience members, eager to share stories of their own.
Some are good, some are bizarre and some are just plain dull, but Weitkamp says that's not the point.
The three storytellers, who call themselves The Uncalled For Trio, have a greater mission.
"You just have to stop and listen because we're really trying to do two things," Weitkamp said en route to the trio's show Monday in Greensboro, N.C. "We want to make people fall in love with storytelling, and we want people to know the value of their own stories."
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The group will perform tonight at The Shed in Port Royal as part of its "A Not So Silent Night" holiday tour that also includes stops in Punta Gorda, Fla., and at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn.
Tickets for the show, which is sponsored by Beaufort ARTworks and the town of Port Royal, are $8 for adults and $4 for children.
The trio performs for audiences across the country each year, blending music, personal stories and absurdly tall tales, which are Lepp's specialty. The Charleston, W.Va., native is the five-time winner of his home state's famed Liars Contest.
If the trio is doing its job, the performances are a delicate balance of humor and sentiment that make the art of storytelling seem deceptively easy, Weitkamp said.
"A great artist makes it look effortless and like they aren't really trying up there," Weitkamp said. "But it does take a lot of skill and is much harder than it looks. I mean, when you leave the ballet, you don't pirouette to your car. There's a lot that goes into this. A lot of writing and a lot of editing."
Tonight's show features new holiday stories and songs and often defies the audience's expectations of what a storytelling is or should be, Weitkamp said.
"When people hear the word 'storytelling' they think kids, women, little old ladies with their hair in a bun, but there is more than enough testosterone in this show to keep the guys entertained," she said. "This is a kid-friendly show, and it's definitely safe to bring the young ones, but this is a show geared toward adults."
J.W. Rone, ARTworks' executive director, said booking the trio was somewhat of a coup for the organization and the area.
"They are playing the International Storytelling Center and a few other larger venues, so to have us as part of that tour is pretty impressive," Rone said. "When you look at what their tickets are going for in Tennessee and Florida, getting to see quality performers like this in our area for only eight bucks is pretty amazing."
At the conclusion of their performance tonight, Weitkamp said she hopes the trio will have inspired local residents to tell their own stories -- and tell them often.
"If I had one piece of advice to people it's this: Tell, tell, tell and tell well," Weitkamp said. "If you're interested in the art of storytelling, just keep telling people your stories. We want to encourage people to do what we do."