Friday, October 29, 2010

October Storytelling

I've had a wonderfully varied but quite busy month of storytelling this month.

One of the highlights were the training workshops I was asked to run for PSCQ Workforce Council in Townsville, Ingham, Charters Towers and Ayr. Got to meet lots of early childhood workers from 'the Capital of North Queensland' and surrounding towns.

This week I've been telling in Logan City libraries as part of Children's Week. Had some very young audiences for a pleasant change. One of the highlights though was a mixed age special needs group that came to the library from a local state school. No one had told me that I was getting a special needs class and it took me a little while to work it out. The pleasure though was the unreserved, enthusiastic way in which they enjoyed the stories. This is when storytelling works best. When an audience suspends disbelief and provides lots of feedback about what they are enjoying then the storytelling can really create lots of fun and pleasure.

Another little pleasant surprise at one of the libraries was the young (around 3 yrs old) boy who turned up carrying two dolls. One was Woody from Toy Story and the other was ....... Barbie. He took great pleasure in showing me that if you pressed Barbie gemstone brooch it and her similarly gem encrusted high heels started flashing. Pretty cool I thought. I told him that my favourite Barbie was Monster Truck Driving Barbie.

Had coffee down at Black Star with Rosalyn, a recent migrant from Liberia and Sierra Leone, yesterday afternoon. She wants to tell traditional African stories to Prep audiences. I suggested that she gets a number of stories together that might work and myself and some Storytelling Guild people can give her some feedback. I'm looking forward to seeing how she goes.

Today is the last kindy day before Halloween and, not surprisingly, I was asked to tell some scary stories. I must admit I'm a bit negative about the commercialisation and Americanisation of All Hallows Eve. I'm also a bit concerned about just how scary, scary stories should be for 4 yr olds.

I ended up compromising. I told Jack and the Bean Stalk and I told 'The Old Woman in the Pumpkin' from India. There were two Indian children in the audience and the boy, of Tamil background, was really enjoying it.

I'm never sure how to end Jack and the Bean Stalk however. I know that the main reason children enjoy it is that the hero is a young person and that he overcomes a scary, old giant by being brave and fast and quick witted but really he does dispatch that old giant in a rather gruesome way. I do believe in means and ends and I'm not sure I want to be encouraging any young person to be stealing 'hens that lay golden eggs'.

I wonder if the giant can chase Jack until he comes across the strange old man who gave him the magic beans in the first place? Could be good to bring him back into the story.