Saturday, June 18, 2005

What's a pigway?

About 300 pounds...

I've always wanted to use that joke. On Thursday I was in Pittsburg, KS telling "A dark and stormy night." This is a circular story--it never ends, so I go around and around telling it in different voices. I tell it mad, sad, with the hiccups, like a chicken, etc. I ask the kids to give me suggestions. After I told it like a--bawk--chicken--bawk, a kid in the front row asked me to tell it "the pig way." Perfect setup! "What's a pig way?" I asked, and then answered myself, "Oh, I know--about 300 pounds." Now I think I'll set it up for myself in the next shows.

This was a good week. No pie, but good performances in the libraries of southeast Kansas. My set list changes a little bit but basically is the same throughout. You'd think I'd get bored. I don't, for the most part. This is one of the things I love about telling stories: as I tell a story over and over, I learn more about it. I have the chance to get under the skin of the story and understand it in new ways. Also, as each audience is different, the story changes slightly in relation to the listeners. It's definitely not theater.

The story that fascinated me the most this week is Rapunzel. I've only recently begun telling this classic. I think it's a trance story. Even the tinies go into a very quiet interior listening place. I believe Doug Lipman talks about "front of the seat" stories and "back of the seat" stories. This one is a "back of the seat" story, where the listeners are deep inside, sitting quietly all the way back in their seats. The ghost with the one black eye is a "front of the seat story," where the listeners are laughing, joining in, sitting right up on the front edge of the seat (or occasionally standing up without even realizing it). I told Rapunzel ten times this week, shifting bits here and there, changing pace, tweaking the telling each time. My ending is not completely traditional, but it doesn't stray too far. I encourage the kids to go look for other versions in the library, in that magical Dewey Decimal section, 398.2.

That's it for today. I get a few days off before returning to the fray. Tuesday I'm telling the Medieval Romance Tristan and Iseult at the Juvenile Detention Center. Can't wait!


Anonymous said...

i LOVE your rapunzel story! i heard it today at marysville!

PriscillaHowe said...

Thanks! That was an excellent crowd in Marysville. Beautiful library and a fabulous dragon suspended from the ceiling, too.