KSU Tellers receive four-star review in Scotland
By Lauren Highfill
“Beowulf” may be an old story, but members of the KSU Tellers breathed new life into the epic poem with their performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland last month. The British Theatre Guide recently reviewed one of the group’s seven performances and raved that it featured “an enthusiastic and energetic young cast [who were] literally flinging themselves into the story.”
The 14-member storytelling company started work on the “Beowulf” project in January. “This was really a collaborative piece,” says Hannah Harvey, director of the Tellers. Harvey created the base script and then gave creative license to the company. “The students preserved the imagery and alliteration of the original story,” she says, “but this piece really was to be their own telling and their own creation.”
While all members of the company were involved with the initial revisions, six members further revised the adaptation over the summer into a one-hour theatrical experience, complete with a percussionist from the music department, a technical director and costume masks.
A student member of the Tellers, Andrew Puckett, worked on the adaptation and made the journey to Scotland. “There is joy in watching a piece of material develop from its conceptual stage into a solidified form of performance,” says Puckett, “especially in the location and atmosphere that bred the story of ‘Beowulf’ to begin with.”
Part of that creative experience evolved from the spirit of “Beowulf” and the talents of students. “We experimented with storytelling through masks, puppetry and movement, utilizing the interests of the company members,” says Harvey. One member of the group is a puppeteer; another is a dancer in Kennesaw State’s dance program.
The movement and physical involvement of the characters in the adaptation didn’t go unnoticed: “The play stands as a brilliant piece of physical theatre,” says the British Theatre Guide. Harvey also says, “we received a lot of positive feedback from the venue where we were and from the audiences.”
When not performing, the students were also able to take part in the theatrical atmosphere of Scotland. “We went to see other shows and saw other techniques and approaches,” says Tellers member Phillip Justman. “I was doing what I really loved: learning and working."