Posting Date: November 26, 2012
KSU Tellers to present storytelling concert
Performance feature best hits of the semester
By DeLain Climmons
The KSU Tellers perform at the 2012 Flourish Luncheon
The art of storytelling is alive and well despite the popularity of modern technologies such as smartphones and tablets and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Join the KSU Tellers, the student storytelling troupe housed in the Department of Theatre & Performance Studies, on Nov. 27-28 at 8 p.m. for an evening of interactive storytelling in the Onyx Theater.
Charles Parrott, assistant professor and director of the KSU Tellers, says storytelling is experiencing a new type of revitalization. People, he explains, want to see other human beings stand in front of them and perform, creating a more personal experience than what modern technology can offer. “Storytelling involves one person in front of an audience painting a picture with words,” explains Parrott. “As a storyteller you become a bigger exaggerated version of yourself.”
Parrott says the Tellers will present what he refers to as a mixtape, featuring the best hits of the past semester. One of the themes of the upcoming showcase is that of personal narratives, or true stories that students have crafted into theatrical performances. The showcase will also feature a ghost story adapted from the book “13 Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey” by Kathyrn Windham, a southern storyteller and folklorist. “We're going to create theatrical performances of her stories,” explains Parrott. “Ghosts are typically representative of something that is happening in a community, so you don’t have to believe in ghosts or ghost stories to connect with these tales.”
The purpose of storytelling, beyond just entertainment, is often to illustrate a virtue or deliver a message for the audience to consider, Parrott says. For example, the audience may hear the ghost story of a rich man who, after losing his wife, becomes increasingly callous and mean to his son. When the son becomes sick, the father leaves him to die; shortly after, the father becomes sick and bedridden himself. “As the story goes," Parrott recounts, “the ghost of his son would stand at the end of the bed glaring at his dad and haunting him. Is this a true story? It doesn’t really matter, because it is a good story.”
“Storytelling holds the transformative healing power to turn wounds into wisdom,” explains John Gentile, chair of the Department of Theatre & Performance Studies. “Diane Rooks calls this capacity 'Spinning Gold Out of Straw', in her book of that name. She explains that telling our stories can render meaning from chaos, break through our fundamental isolation and connect us to humanity, invite compassion, penetrate barriers with images, teach us to grieve, validate both teller and listener, and transform emotional pain and restore hope.”
Admission to the KSU Tellers Showcase is free, but seating is limited. This performance may not be suitable for audiences under the age of 16.
Next semester, the Department of Theatre & Performance Studies will offer a special topics course titled “Performing Family Stories,” which will emphasize storytelling as a healing art and will be taught by Instructor Henry Scott.