Adventures in Storytelling

The adventures of The Patchwork Players, Patti Christensen and James Nelson-Lucas, as they travel the dimensions of time and space, telling their tales

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Voices of the Future & A HOT TIME Telling Stories

On May 9th, The Patchwork Players had the privilege of performing as part of a wonderful event The Imagination Celebration presents Voices of the Future. This happened at Bowers Kidseum in San at Ana CA. Several youth storytelling groups run by South Coast Storytellers Guild members performed before parents, friends and story enthusiasts. Storytellers from Kindergartners through fifth graders wowed and dazzled the audience. Some of them, just with their courage to face their fears and stand in front of a group of people looking right at them (we know how many adults would rather die than speak in front of a large group)…..and some of the kids by their great poise and ability to work a crowd. The children had been telling anywhere from 3 weeks to several years. There were even a number of tandem tellers, two performers/one story. Some of these kids were simply amazing. We will look to see some of them up on large stages later on.

Two of the clubs were from pretty affluent suburban schools, while one had city kids many of whom have parents how speak no English. It is good to have a mix of students form different backgrounds, and we especially applaud the group leaders who have tackled the difficult job of dealing with kids who are not always able to make an on-going commitment to a program such as storytelling. All of the kids did well and were inspired.

In addition to the kids, we were invited along with a couple of other professionals to tell a story. We picked one of our all time favorites: Caps for Sale: a Story of a Peddler and His Hats. This allowed a number of students storytellers to join with us as curious monkeys. Always fun, although, you always take a chance that some kids want to steal the stage even if their part has no spoken words.

Storytelling in 99+ degree weather? Why not? Saturday May 17th was a record breaking hot day in our region of southern CA. So, a great day for two outdoor gigs!

We started off with Folktales of Norway in celebration of the holiday “Syttende Mai" or the 17th

of May is a celebration of the day in 1814 when Norway’s constitution was signed in the town of Eidsvoll, Norway. We had our audience members use their im

agination to think of a really cold and snowy day to go along with our traditional Norwegian clothes or “bunad”s. James has an especially nice one with a beautiful wool

vest…perfect for one hundred degree heat!

We told a number of favorite traditional tales such as The Troll Bride, The White Cat of Dovre, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the Man Who Was to Mind the House. The aduience of nearly one hundred kids and parents, mostly hung in their with us, much to our amazement. The City of Irvine staff were a attentive and amazing with their support. They have taken their commitment to culture diversity very seriously. Thanks Irvine staff!!

James had several family members who earned some great “family points” for coming and and listening to stories in the heat. His mom even wore her own really hot bunad. Yah mom!

Next we hopped into the lovely air conditioned car and headed up the road to the Children’s Museum of La Habra. There we were part of their Family Art Festival in celebration of Local Heroes. (Outside, of course!!!!) The place was crawling with very friendly fire fighters, police officers and paramedics, plus some pretty neat vehicles and weapons.

A couple of the main acts had to perform out in the open under the increasingly hot sun. As storytellers, we were blessed with some shade (thank heavens!) Everyone was pretty sluggish and hesitant to “rush right over to sit down and hear some stories” so we brought the stories to them. One place that had a very long line was the line for face painting. They had some awesome face painters, but the line was moving veeerrrrrryy slowly. So “how bout a story while you wait?” YAH!!!! And so, storytellers to the rescue yet again. Nothing like a scary (or funny) story or two while you are waiting in a long line. Especially if everyone can stay in the shade.

We were then very glad to get into the car, drink a bunch of cool water and head off to see James’ nephew Dustin in a Karate competition, just a couple of miles down the road. He did well, including winning a large first place trophy.

By the time we got home, we were HOT but tired and really glad to be living the glamorous life of traveling storytellers.


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