Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Linguistic Recap Wed 7/22

What is the journey of conversation?
Class begun today with a discussion of Kim Weitcamp stories from her teller in residence.

Pepto-Bismol Girl => Love + Tall Tale => Nursing Home

Pepto-Bismol Girl/Anne Margaret
This story was to win over the audience the most. Kim talked about specifics like hot wheels, captain crunch, wonderful world of Disney, Howdy Doody, etc. We could also recognize the archetypal goody goody and tomboy, mother and daughter, etc.

Love + Tall Tale/Tom and Laura
Time of desperation. Pattern tricking. The owner of the general store has the money. Ion this story we are yearning for justice. We want to see the owner lose her $. But at the same time this story also mixes in emotional content. Kim used a song as a summary device to continue the life of the story and move us in a particular direction.

Nursing Home/Wrinkles/”Stopping Time”
Life continues. Still have flirtatious women, importance of looking good, and dementia. This story takes the “ha-ha” (I want to fly) and turns it into a revelation.

How did Kim use one story to get us to another story? If we look at her first story, we can understand why it was told first. There are specific levels to begin conversations. In fact if we apply it to syntax, there is a reason it is first. One reason is that the story of Anne Margaret helps us to identify with Kim. We like her and understand her. This story is like the beginning of the sentence. We then proceed to Tom and Laura that is more like the middle of the sentence, and end with “stopping time” because it ends the sentence. Kim’s performance was a great example of a combinatorics.
We face some challenges in storytelling with creating an experience. One challenge is when stories are competing with each other. How do we tall a story to anticipate the last? But, also how do we tie the last story to the first? We want to get the stories into a line so they are complimenting each other. We want them unified. They should make an integrated statement. But how do we arrange them to be in agreement?

Kim’s stories are in agreement. We have this intertwining of:
Friendship ⇔ Love ⇔ Death.

David brought up the example of the play “The Ice Man Cometh” and how even at the end of 4 hours he wanted and was ready for more. Yet, at the end of a one-hour storytelling set he is tired and done. Why is that? It is that the play is one story. And often Storytelling is a bunch of stories put together that down glide, down glide, and down glide. But Kim’s stories, because they were integrated into agreement, were the opposite: They were up glides.
So how do we "up glide" our storytelling programs?
One level is based on technique. We have to know a bunch of stories. We have to practice and refine our skills. But, another level is instinctive. Sometimes we have to be in “the zone.” It is second nature. As storyteller we need a combination of both. For example, we practice and practice and practice a sport, so that during the game we are not thinking about the skills involved. Instead we are going on your instincts.

If we look at how Disneyland was designed, we can gain some insight on our storytelling through the metaphor. Disneyland was built so that kids and adults could have a multigenerational experience. Which is like storytelling…interesting! In Disneyland there is one entrance. That entrance leads to the castle. Then from the castle there are roads that lead off into all the other lands. We have the possibility of going in multiple directions. Which every direction we choose, we will go to a different land where there are different attractions. When they built the “Snow White” attraction they didn’t take into account that there was another story that would affect it: the line. As people waited, they grew tired, hot, and cranky. They were not being brought into the story with the right mind. If you contrast that with “Splash Mountain,” you get a different experience. As soon as you step into the line, you are in the world of Brer Rabbit. Thus, you are in a great mindset for the attraction.
There are different approaches to creating a transforming storytelling experience. Here are 3 in particular:

The 5 P’s: You can get them to Picture a story when you have People, Places, Problem, and Progress.

Ha-Ha, Ah ha, Ahhh, Amen

  1. To place: get us in the same place together. Bring us into your world and the emotions you want us to explore.
  2. To reveal: the various hidden elements. Surprises.
  3. To relate: when it blossoms. Sense of blooming. The whole program gains a sense of fullness.
If we compare this to a flower: to place is the root, to reveal is the stem with all the many leaves, and to relate is the flower--the bloom.
If we take it further and examine it with the Disney analogy: to place is the Disney line, to reveal is the ride, and to relate is the gift shop where we can take something away to remind us.
We should be thinking as we plan a storytelling experience: Which story will place them? Which story will reveal? Which story will synthesize the evening? We want to create a transforming experience: an emotional journey. We have such power as a storyteller. What feelings we put in our stories we are evoking from our audience. The audience is in our hands. We can do violence to our listeners by mismanagement of our audience in any story. We should establish an element of trust. If we win their trust, we can take them on an emotional roller coaster ride. There is a belief system.

We then shared stories:
Marjorie: Mutts Meg
Beth: the Woman who Flummoxed the fairies
Steve: Memehaylayhaylay
Ilene: One word for Happiness
Kristy: King Midas
David: Hurachas as good as Gold

The purpose was to exercise pattern recognition. We were creating “Storytelling tessellations.” We were picking one idea and moving it forward. As we discussed the stories we talked about what each story had.

Mutts Meg: Giants, resourcefulness, Happy in kitchen, broken family, King, older sister fixed in attitude, younger sister more flexible.
Flummoxed: Fairies, Captivity, Content in kitchen, to be released from spell needs family, king
Mememhaylayhaylay: limping old grandfather, going out to the world, contentment despite riches, leader of Buton, repetitive patter, like Jack tale
Happiness: immaterial wealth, emperor, talk
King Midas: problem with material wealth, king, father/daughter relationship
Hurachas: usefulness of material wealth, family united, harmony, father and daughter, chapter of stories

As we discussed each story’s elements, there were 3 main currents of the rhapsody:

Stories are like a great bouquet!!! If you want to make a bouquet interesting you will need a variety of flowers. A nice combination of smells. You are mixing ingredients into an interesting way. The wonderful combination creates the FLAVOR. In stories we want to use our bouquet to entice our listeners and get them involved.

So here are some last questions to ponder:
How can we be involving? What are the strategies we use to involve? How can we create a storytelling bouquet? How do we place, reveal, and relate? Are we creating a combination of stories that will take our listeners on a journey?

No comments: