Paddy Mulligan dreams of meeting a punk rock girl with sleeve tattoos who bakes.
“I think that would be awesome,” Mulligan said. “But I think about random stuff like that too much.”
Mulligan, a Theater Arts major, sees the world a little differently. He has a radio show on KUOI called Two Pints In Storytelling where he allows local storytellers to share their stories over the airwaves.
“I’ve been obsessed, and religiously listened to shows like The Moth, This American Life, and Snap Judgement and a couple other storytelling shows,” Mulligan said. “And I was like — you know — why don’t I do something like that, just open myself up to the writers in the community and say hey, let’s create a platform together where you can have your work presented in an informal setting.”
He started by emailing professors who could put him in touch with storytellers in the community, whether they are English majors or not.
“It’s not just literature, it is anybody’s organized stories that they want to share,” Mulligan said.
At the end of Fall semester he switched out of the B.F.A. of Theatre Arts, which is focused very heavily on acting, into the B.A. so he could focus more on his writing.
“Coming into college I realized I wanted to do more, so I switched to the B.A. so I could try my hand at poetry and playwriting and then this radio show,” Mulligan said. “I always knew I wanted to be part of theater, but I decided my position in theater is that I want to help people have a theatrical experience. I want to challenge those who think that theatre is only on Broadway. I want to bring them an experience they’ve never had before.”
Mulligan said many writers don’t ever share their work because they are told they aren’t writers, or they feel they don’t have the opportunity to share their work. He said he is a secret writer as well.
“I carry notebooks with me everywhere I go and I write things down. If it wasn’t for my radio show those things might not be shared with anybody,” Mulligan said. “You know we all write things for classes and they get shared in classes sometimes, but all too often they get stuffed in drawers, thrown in trash cans or more likely lost in computer desktops.”
Mulligan’s favorite writers are Martin McDonagh and Edward Albee because they write stories that are thought provoking through the use of interesting characters and plots. He mentioned several plays they have written, like McDonagh’s “A Behanding in Spokane” which Mulligan saw on Broadway, where he actually met McDonagh. He said these writers influence his personal writing.
“I think everyone is in college at a point where they are copying the masters, and I think that’s very important,” Mulligan said. “I think that’s very important in all of our work. When you are writing your own stuff you need to know what it is that inspires you — that gets your blood pumping.”
Mulligan said he is currently reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales and is enjoying their dark tone.
“If you read them, there is torture, there is people being lit on fire. It would be unacceptable to tell these stories to kids in our everyday lives,” Mulligan said. “The reason I look at them and say, “Wow, that is really well written,” is because it’s written with good will in mind. It’s written to tell a story and to explain their thoughts. The ideas that are darker, perhaps considered unacceptable, are often the most interesting thoughts people have.”
Mulligan said the hardest part about the show is meeting up with people to put the story together. He has meetings almost every day, sometimes several in a day. He said he has to be very flexible in his schedule and it amounts to about 15 to 20 hours of work a week. He has a portable microphone and his Mac to record segments for his show. Having his own equipment allows him to record anywhere, although if possible he likes to record in the KUOI production room because it is quiet.
When everything comes together at 8:30 to 11 p.m. on Tuesdays, his show is a treat to tune into. Mulligan does a live introduction — he has a confident on-air presence befitting a trained actor — before going into the works he has recorded for that evening’s program. After every segment he plays a song he feels echoes the piece’s mood before introducing the next piece. After 10 p.m. when the FCC allows verbal obscenities to be broadcast, he sometimes plays stand-up from local comedians.
The show is young. Mulligan plans on doing it until he graduates, and it has a lot of room to grow. He said he is trying to start a partnership with BookPeople of Moscow in order to create a stronger representation of the Moscow community with his show. He is also building an online presence with a Facebook page and even podcasts on iTunes. Both can be found by searching Two Pints In Storytelling.
Mulligan said that anyone interested in sharing their work on the show should contact him either through email at email@example.com, or through the Facebook page. He said he loves having authors read their own work, but if they aren’t comfortable doing so he has friends in the theatre department who can record it.
“No matter what they’ve been told, everyone is a storyteller,” Mulligan said.
Andrew Deskins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org