Sad Storytelling News: Fred Munds

If you are a regular reader of Indy Theatre Habit you may remember that I shared with you the news of Midge Munds’ passing last month.  Midge was the mother of Ellen Munds, executive director of Storytelling Arts of Indiana.

Ellen’s father (Midge’s husband) passed away on Wednesday.  I can’t find the obituary yet in the Indianapolis Star (, but when it appears, I will add a link to it here.  The memorial service will be at 4pm this Sunday at the Church of the Nativity, 7300 North Lantern Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46256.

I didn’t know Fred as well as I knew Midge but I do know that, like her, he supported Ellen’s passion for the art of storytelling.   He and Midge supported Ellen’s work in many, many ways.  For one thing, he set up and put away at least a million rented wooden folding chairs during the 20+ years of the annual Hoosier Storytelling Festival!

He made it possible for me to hear the best of the best storytellers over the years, and I will always be grateful.

He and Midge also welcomed me into their home many, many times.  Their home is an exceptionally pleasant place to be, both inside and out.  I remember Ellen talking more than once, and with such fondness, about working with her dad in their gardens.

I will miss Fred and Midge.  My heart goes out in sympathy to Ellen and her siblings.

Hope Baugh

(Update 3-22-11 – Here is the link to the obituary in the Indianapolis Star:

Several Quickie Reviews and a Writing Plan

(Photo is of Jonah Winston in “Diaspora.”  Photo provided by the director, Michael Hosp.  See below for more info about the show.)

Well, I have been tweeting fairly regularly (@IndyTheatre) but I am way behind in my blogging!  What can I say?  My fulltime day job and my personal life have demanded most of my attention lately.   I haven’t accepted many media passes this year so far because I knew I wouldn’t have much time in which to write about shows.


I have not stopped seeing live theatre and storytelling and I hope you won’t give up on checking Indy Theatre Habit for Indianapolis-area theatre and storytelling news, reviews, and reflections.  Here is my writing plan for the next few days:

Continue reading Several Quickie Reviews and a Writing Plan

Sad Storytelling News: Midge Munds

When I drove to the Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday night to enjoy a storytelling performance by Minton Sparks (review coming soon!) I didn’t see Storytelling Arts of Indiana executive director Ellen Munds.

It is very unusual not to see Ellen at a Storytelling Arts event, so after the storytelling was over, I asked someone if Ellen was okay.

I learned that her mother, Midge, had died the day before.  Oh, I was so sad to hear this!

The official obituary in the Indianapolis Star is here:

My own fond memories of Midge Munds include hanging out with her at the performers’ and volunteers’ tent during numerous Hoosier Storytelling Festivals.  I can see her in my mind’s eye, smiling in her lawn chair, enjoying the informal stories that people were telling, and telling some of her own. 

She relished the more polished tellings by professional tellers up on the stages, too.  Until she became ill, I think she was at every main Storytelling Arts event.  She and her husband, Fred, made it possible for Ellen to start and run Storytelling Arts of Indiana.  How huge is that!

I remember Midge welcoming me into her home so many, many times, for storytelling workshops, storytelling gatherings, and other parties and gatherings not directly related to storytelling.  The Santa Clauses!  The books!  The cozy groupings of seats!  The feeling of belonging, and of being welcome!

I remember talking (okay, gossiping, but it was kind) about the people we knew in common in the Episcopal Church.  We belonged to different congregations but we knew some of the same ministers.  I think that sometimes Episcopalians can seem pretty quirky to other people, and I remember what a delight it was not to have to explain this part of myself to Midge.

I will miss her.  I wish to convey my deepest sympathy to Ellen, her father, and the rest of their family.

Hope Baugh

Storytelling Review: “Disquieting, Disturbing, and Dreadful Tales”

Late on Saturday afternoon, October 9, 2010, I wrenched a leg muscle as I was leaving my day job.  Oh, man, did it hurt!  The last thing I felt like doing was going to a show.

However, that Saturday night was Storytelling Arts of Indiana’s second annual ghost story event for adults on the canal patio outside at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis.  No way was I missing it, so I hobbled on down.  I arrived just as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, storyteller Cynthia Changeris, was welcoming everyone.

Continue reading Storytelling Review: “Disquieting, Disturbing, and Dreadful Tales”

Storytelling Review: Donald Davis & Carmen Agra Deedy in Indianapolis

This past weekend was the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.  Performance storytelling lovers from all over the country – and even from other countries – gather to swap tales at this annual festival.  I’m talking thousands of people, sitting on folding wooden chairs crammed under huge tents, listening to individuals on raised platforms “just” talking into microphones…and being transformed.

There are now several big storytelling festivals around the country, but the one in Jonesborough is “Mecca.”  You want to hear the best tellers?  Go to Jonesborough.

I haven’t been able to get down to Jonesborough for several years, so I am doubly glad that Storytelling Arts of Indiana continues to bring some of those top tellers here to Indianapolis.

Two of those top tellers are Donald Davis and Carmen Agra Deedy.  (That’s Donald in the photo above.  I’m sorry; I don’t have a photo of Carmen.)

Continue reading Storytelling Review: Donald Davis & Carmen Agra Deedy in Indianapolis

Three Mini Reviews Plus Ghost Story News

There is SO MUCH performance art – creepy or otherwise – going on in the Indianapolis area this month!  I am working on three reviews, now:

Continue reading Three Mini Reviews Plus Ghost Story News

Storytelling Review: “Nepantla: Between Worlds” by Olga Loya

On Saturday, May 1, 2010, I drove to the Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis to hear professional storyteller Olga Loya present “Nepantla: Between Worlds.” 

This event was produced by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and the Indiana Historical Society as part of the Printing Partners Storytellers Theater series.

I had been looking forward to this event ever since Olga mentioned her “Nepantla” piece at the 2008 Going Deep: Long Traditional Stories Festival.   It was, as I had expected: enjoyable, uplifting and thought-provoking.

Continue reading Storytelling Review: “Nepantla: Between Worlds” by Olga Loya

Storytelling Review: “The Flame of Love”

Patrick Ball and the Medieval Beasts - photo provided by Storytelling Arts of Indiana

On Sunday afternoon, October 25, 2009, I drove to the newly-renovated Indiana History Center on the canal in downtown Indianapolis to hear storyteller Patrick Ball and musicians Shira Kammen and Tim Rayborn (a duo known collectively as “The Medieval Beasts”) bring to life a piece called “Telling the Flame of Love: The Legend of Tristan and Iseult.”  It was presented by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and the Indiana Historical Society as part of the Printing Partners Storytelling Theater series.  It was sponsored by Lewis & Kappes, Fred and Midge Munds, Tom and Pat Grabill, and Ryan Zumbahlen.  Cathy Covey was the sign language interpreter.

It is a relatively new piece, I think.  Usually Storytelling Arts director Ellen Munds only brings to Indianapolis storytellers and storytelling shows that she has heard and seen before in other venues around the country.  When I asked her after this show where else she had seen it, she said that she had not, in fact, seen it before.  When Patrick Ball had told her about it, she was intrigued.  She trusted him enough based on past experiences to hire him based just on his description of the piece.

I’m glad she did.

Continue reading Storytelling Review: “The Flame of Love”

Storytelling Review: “Disquieting, Disturbing, and Dreadful Tales” on the Canal

Last Saturday night, my friend David picked me up and we drove to downtown Indianapolis to the Indiana History Center to hear “Disquieting, Disturbing, & Dreadful Tales” told outside on the canal.  We shivered more from the cold than anything else – neither of us was fully prepared for the sudden dip in temperature that night – but we enjoyed the stories, too.

The event was co-sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society and Storytelling Arts of Indiana.  There were five professional storytellers, including the mistress of ceremonies, Sue Grizzell.  They live in various parts of Indiana.  All five are recipients of the Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories grant sponsored by the two organizations over the years.  On Saturday night the featured tellers took turns standing or sitting before a microphone on a small raised platform decorated with pumpkins and bales of hay under two poles of bright theatre lights plus the regular lights from the IHC’s patio area.  As a group, the tellers offered a nice sampling of subtly different telling styles and stories from all over the world.

Continue reading Storytelling Review: “Disquieting, Disturbing, and Dreadful Tales” on the Canal

Storytelling Review: “Tales of Now and Zen” by Motoko

Storyteller Motoko 

On Saturday, January 10, 2009, I drove downtown to the Indiana History Center to hear storyteller Motoko share “Stories of Now and Zen.”  The program was presented by Storytelling Arts of Indiana as part of the Barnes & Thornburg Storytellers Theater presenting the Creative Street Media Group Storytelling Series.  This particular event was sponsored by Marcia Baker.

It was a lovely evening of storytelling.

Continue reading Storytelling Review: “Tales of Now and Zen” by Motoko