Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘frog’

Storytelling Starters: On the wing

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Last week I ended with the thought – or is it more of an observation? – that, in storytelling, you as the storyteller are your own prop. This applies whether you’re a professional doing your storytelling from a stage or in a group, with adults or with children, or whether you’re telling your stories informally. What you have in your repertoire is not only your stories but yourself, your voice, actions, sound-effects, expressions.

Promptly last week came a comment from a reader in New Zealand (Pamela, this is you). She and her family had just attended a storytelling session being given by Tanya Batt, a New Zealander whom, as it happens, I remember meeting years ago in North Wales. As well as the stories and how Tanya was dressed, what had made an enormous impact was her great range of sound-effects and actions.

Yes, sound-effects and actions. But there’s something else too which can enormously help a storyteller. It’s developing a range of little add-ins (and I’m calling them add-ins as opposed to add-ons). The sort of add-ins I mean can include all kinds of things that, over time, become a staple, but not inevitable, part of your repertoire. They’re things you can throw in, perhaps in the earlier part of a session when you’re introducing yourself and getting going. Or even later, perhaps between stories or even in the middle of one, a kind of throw-away that can recapture attention. So what do I mean by add-ins? (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ The Rag-and-Bone Man

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

Last week it was bags. This week it’s rags, namely things which are so well-worn that, in times gone by, they were  generally only good for passing on to the rag-and-bone man. One such used to come round our streets with his horse and cart collecting big old items such as an old mattress and bags full of unwanted small items too. I remember the tone of his cry though I never worked out quite what he was saying.

My well-worn stuff this week is a joke, one which has been told so many times by me that it could well qualify as good only for the rag-and-bones man except that it possesses the extraordinary quality of still being able to make people laugh. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Laughter and tears

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Many bluebells“The world is very beautiful and it’s very sad I will have to die.” So said the grandmother of José Saramago whose house on Lanzarote we recently went to see. The grandmother was very old when she said that to him and he was still a child. I feel I know what she meant for this week, down in Wales, the hedgerows, the sky, the bird-song, the bluebells – all have been so beautiful, I can’t bear the thought of ever leaving them.

Tears

Tears are close to laughter and they’ve both been present several times in recent days. Tears were there after the Memorial Service to our friend Simon Hoggart in which the whole gathered throng were kept constantly laughing by the many tributes to him, all in some way or other recalling his sense of humour.

Tears have been there too on hearing about the illness of a number of friends. Yet, as I said, tears and laughter often come close together. Two people have remarked on this to me in the last few days. One was speaking in general about storytelling when he said, “If you can get them laughing at the beginning, you can get them crying at the end.” Then a member of the Welsh class in St David’s which had invited me to go and talk to them about storytelling this last Wednesday made a similar point with a vivid personal recollection. In Botswana back in the mid-60s, he said, people in the place where he was living would gather every Friday evening beneath a very big tree (same tree each week) and they’d listen to the storyteller (same storyteller each week, a man who wore a jacket with many medals on it). At first, they’d be uproariously laughing. By the end, they’d often be weeping. (more…)