Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A book I'm reading - Provoking the Gospel: methods to embody Biblical storytelling through drama

I'm still thinking about my prior post concerning the spectrum of acting and telling a story. Then my wife suggested I read this book, Provoking the Gospel: Methods to embody Biblical storytelling through drama. I'm just starting, but am finding good stuff from the start. Here's a quote from the preface, p viii
"Contentment with the same old readings of biblical stories leads to rigor mortis. We need to poke these old stories, to pole them and provoke them a little. And nothing does that textual poking and provoking like public, physical performance. If you can continue to pretend that these old stories are calm compilations of ideas (our ideas!), the "same old" readings will be fine. But public audiences will not sit still for dull, formulaic performances. So if we dare to accept the risk and challenge of playing these fascinating old stories for audiences who are free to see what is actually there, free to react, respond, and argue, then we will need to poke hard at these stories."
I'm sure I'll be posting more from what I learn from this author.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The spectrum of telling and acting a story

It's been a long time since I've posted anything. As they say in Vanuatu, sori tumas. Just recently I attended a Network of Biblical Storytellers Gathering in Asheville, NC and had a great time watching others perform their stories. This time I got into the act a bit by participating in a coaching session for storytellers. I would not have been ready for something like this at an earlier conference, but really appreciated the input I got from the coaches and other tellers. I would say it was for me the highlight of the gathering. My experience with storytelling comes from listening to family stories and living in cultures where storytime is a part of a normal day. But I don't have much of any background with drama, and both my storytelling coaches did. I appreciated being pushed to tell with more dramatic expression, making my gestures larger and my emotion fit the mood of the story. The feedback from the audience was very positive and the audience really liked the change, stating it more on the scale of a metamorphosis. I know some professional storytellers encourage new storytellers to find their own voice, tell their stories naturally, but I think knowing something of drama basics can add much to the storyteller's performance. Perhaps the goal is to find a good meeting place between culture, telling, performing or acting and one's style and identity or person.