Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Festivals last month

I enjoy festival telling. Last month I was in two. The first was the Fairfield Bay Storyfest in Fairfield Bay, AR. The bay is on Greer's Ferry Lake. I had a great time having wide-ranging conversations with my hosts, a delightful couple who live in a quiet wooded area with no neighbors in sight. I did see deer, fox and carp (whew, those are ugly fish!). This small festival is in its second year in this idyllic spot. It's a favorite area for retirees, so many of the audience members were older folks. Kudos to the festival director, Stas' Ziolkowski, who convinced the residents that a storytelling festival would be a unique event for the area. He did a great job.

On Friday, we visited schools. I had two sets, one with 400 kindergarten through third graders, the second with 300 fourth through sixth graders. On Saturday, for the festival itself, I was on the bill with Willy Claflin, Barbara McBride-Smith and Bobby Norfolk. Very fun to be with these top-tier storytellers. The last time Willy and I shared a stage, my baby puppet and his moose puppet did an improv story together. We realized too late this time that we could have worked another in.

On the way home, I had a layover in Memphis (yes, I had to go east to go west, but at least it wasn't to Atlanta, as it was on my way). We had been talking at the festival about needing to have a clock clearly visible so we didn't go over time. It's awkward to look at one's watch while performing. Even though we're just checking to see how much time there is left, it always looks like we are hoping the set is almost over. If it weren't for that conversation, I might not have bought this $10 watch in the airport:

Now that's a watch I can see!

The next week I drove over to Jefferson City, MO to the Mid-Missouri Storytelling Festival. I think this might be my sixth time at this festival. It feels like a family reunion, as the same storytellers tend to be invited back. The main part of this festival is visiting schools in the area. At Eugene Elementary, where I performed with Greg Tyler, the kids had made a sign for us.

I think the whole school signed it.

For the first time at this festival, I was in the evening performance for adults on Friday, where I told "Razzles," a personal story of giving in to temptation and the ensuing guilt.

Now I'm home for a few more days, packing for my next trip.

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