Saturday, June 04, 2011

Storytelling Festival in Lima week before last

Before I forget, I want to write about the II Encuentro Internacional de Narradores Orales, "Bendita sea la Palabra" (Blessed be the word).

While still in the US, I found information about this international storytelling festival online. Did I bookmark it? Nah, I figured I could find it later. Then when I got here, I had the hardest time tracking it down, because it doesn't say "festival" or "cuentacuentos" in the title. Sometimes storytellers are cuentacuentos, sometimes they are narradores orales. Sigh.

Anyway, I did find it. The festival was May 23-28. In the daytime, there were workshops and roundtables. There was no way I could go to those, as I was busy practicing the art of storytelling in the schools. I thought I could go to the performances during the week, but each evening I was too tired. I made up my mind to go to the culminating concert last Saturday morning in downtown Lima.

The festival was at El Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano (ICPNA) in various locations in Lima. I arrived early and then waited the typical 15-25 minutes after the starting time. There was a good-sized crowd, maybe 100 people, including lots of kids who had heard the storytellers at school that week, I think.

There were five storytellers, Jose Antonio Nunez Negron (Peru), Alicia Barberis (Argentina), Carolina Rueda (Colombia), Jose Luis Mellado (Chile) and Angela Arboleda (Ecuador). I understood most of the stories, though one was fairly mysterious to me. I think all of them were animal tales.

It's great to watch storytellers in a language I don't completely understand. At this performance, I was aware of how their body language and facial expressions enhanced the story--or didn't. I observed how the kids joined in and how the storytellers managed the energy in the space. There were technical problems with the microphone, so I paid attention to how the performers did or didn't work with that.

Afterwards I went up to introduce myself. I felt shy, so mostly I just told them that I enjoyed the performance and that I'm a storyteller from the US. I gave my card to a couple of folks and went on my way.

I'm very glad I went. That's the second storytelling festival I've happened upon while traveling this year!

1 comment:

Faith said...

So this was a bit of table-turning, with you being like the Peruvian students you're telling stories to in English?