I know that I am overdue in writing a Mailbox post about the many, many interesting theatre-related things going on around Indianapolis right now but tonight I would just like to share my bliss (and okay, yes, brag a bit) about a handful of unexpected invitations that have come my way recently.
Guest Speaker at a Storytelling Class
This afternoon I was the guest speaker for an undergraduate Winter Term storytelling class at Franklin College. Each of the 18 students had come prepared with two questions to ask The Professional Storyteller about how to tell folk tales. Most were education majors, but there were also a few theatre, English, and psychology majors.
I had met with the two instructors – one a professional storyteller herself, the other an English professor – ahead of time. They had some topics they hoped I would cover, but they also said it would be okay for me to let the students’ questions prompt the stories I told and the advice I gave.
The students were wonderful.
At one point I found myself quoting Heather Forest, who often advises beginning tellers to “Plan on being a storyteller for at least 25 years. Don’t expect to learn all the stories and all the techniques and so on in your first year.”
“Good heavens!” I thought to myself. “I have been working as a storyteller for 25 years now! How can that be? I still have so much to learn!”
But I also realized as I talked with this student audience today, that I have come a long way since I took my first storytelling class as part of my work for my Master of Library Science degree in 1985. For one thing, I could go in to the classroom today trusting that the right stories from my repertory would be there for me. And they were!
I don’t know for sure what the students thought of our two hours together. They listened intently, tried what I asked them to try, and seemed to be having a good time. For me, though, it was definitely an empowering experience. I am grateful for each of my storytelling mentors and experiences from the past 25 years, including today’s.
Reviewer for Storytelling, Self, and Society
Last week I accepted an invitation from Storytelling, Self, Society: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Storytelling Studies to write a review of storyteller Bill Harley’s work. I will therefore be at both of his performances here in Indianapolis this weekend at the Indiana History Center. (One is for families, the other for adults. For more info about either, please go to www.storytellingarts.org.)
It will be a different kind of essay than what I write for Indy Theatre Habit – and harder for me to write because I haven’t done any kind of academic writing in a long time – but I am looking forward to it. My review is scheduled to be published in the Summer 2010 edition of Storytelling, Self, Society.
I have received several other intriguing invitations in the past year or so.
- I was asked to be part of a panel at the 2010 National Storytelling Network conference in Los Angeles that would discuss issues related to reviewing oral tradition storytelling. I would have LOVED to accept that invitation, but I would have had to pay my own way out there, and I just couldn’t swing it.
- During the 2009 IndyFringe festival, someone from Nuvo reached out to me to ask if I had seen the one show they had missed, and if so, would I be willing to write a review for them. I had not seen that show either, so I didn’t have to weigh the pro’s (a byline in Nuvo and a gazillion more readers than I have now!) and the con’s (having to pare down to 50 words and mess with stars) of accepting that invitation. I could just be, and was, hugely flattered to have been asked.
- I was approached in 2009 by a handful of ticket re-sellers and other companies that wanted to advertise here on my blog. I said no to them because if I am going to allow the clutter of ads on my blog, there had better be a very big profit in it for me, and there wouldn’t have been. Still, I was tickled to have been approached.
This morning I was asked to be a “plant” for the open microphone portion of the “Jabberwocky” program co-sponsored by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and Indy Fringe on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. The main “tellers” will be Lou Harry of the IBJ, Shari Finnell of Indianapolis Woman, Dennis Ryerson of the Indianapolis Star and David Zivan of Indianapolis Monthly. They will share stories of writer’s block and how they dealt with it. After they “jabber” about their experiences, there will be a chance for anyone else who wants to share a story of struggling with writer’s block.
Maybe I am not supposed to tell you that I will be a plant, but I had this event on my calendar anyway because I am always up for hearing professional journalists talk about their work, and because of my own recent struggle. Being a plant in this case just means that I am willing to get up and tell a 3-5 minute story about writer’s block if no one else wants to go first. Either way, I think it will be a fun and informative evening.
By the way, doors open for “Jabberwocky” at the Indy Fringe Building at 5:30pm. The program itself starts at 6pm. Admission is $10. There will be “hearty soups, bread, and drinks” for additional charges.
I have a couple of other intriguing invitations in my mailbox right now, but since I haven’t answered them yet, I will keep mum about them except to say that whether things work out or not for me to accept them, I am glad to have been asked.
‘See you at the theatres…
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
Follow @IndyTheatre on Twitter.com for night-of-show observations and impressions.