Posting Date: February 02, 2009
KSU Department of Theatre and Performance Studies presents Story Fest
By Jarmea L. Boone
Story Fest headliner Gene Tagaban
During early-morning rehearsals for KSU Story Fest, each student member of KSU Tellers stands center stage and projects powerful words of emotion. The theater lights cast an almost ominous glow on fellow student storytellers listen for projection and watch for facial expression, and critique the performances. advisor Hannah Harvey, assistant professor of theatre and performance studies, adds her advice to help the students prepare for the annual festival.
Scheduled for Feb. 5 and 6 in Howard Logan Stillwell Theater, KSU Story Fest also features local and internationally acclaimed storytellers.
The headliner for this year’s sold-out festival is Gene Tagaban, who has performed for international audiences. “Tagaban brings so much history and drama into the genre,” says Harvey. “He is incredible in infusing his own cultural heritage as an Alaskan Native American into his own storytelling personality.”
Tagaban has integrated Native American heritage and performance artistry with traditional training and counseling techniques to develop inspirational and results-oriented performances; presentations and personal growth work with youth, adolescents and adults. He has worked with schools, universities, reservations, corporations, government and mainstream organizations.
KSU Teller Greg Garrison has seen Tagaban perform at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. “It is hard not to admire Tagaban as a storyteller,” says Garrison. “He blends a modern and traditional style with polish and pride. He uses spectacle brilliantly and is an ideal example of how storytelling should be.”
“To some, storytelling is a ‘dead art,’” said first-year student teller Trevor Goble. “But storytelling is everywhere. Every day of life is a performance.”
“We are keeping the tradition of storytelling alive,” says student Andrew Crigler.
One of the most positive aspects of storytelling is the diversity displayed on the performance stage. “We all have different backgrounds and different approaches,” says Andrew Crigler. “Whether it’s a scripted piece, where the performer knows exactly what he or she is going to do, or improvisation, storytelling allows for the development of individual style.”
The KSU Tellers look forward to Story Fest and their expectations are high for audience reception. “We hope to break expectations,” says Greg Garrison who has been a member of the Tellers for two-and-a-half years. “Most people don’t expect to see different avenues of the storytelling. We perform Greek tragedies and slam poetry. We appeal to all audiences, children to elders.”
The KSU Tellers are just as excited about watching the guest storytellers as they are about performing in the festival. Trevor Goble has gone to storytelling festivals since he was a child and credits those festivals to the reason why he pursued theater and storytelling at KSU. “Story Fest is really rewarding in helping me become better at what I grew up watching,” he says.