Day 2: 3 Sept 2011 of SISF (Continuation from Day 1)
Yet again, we were spoilt for choices. We had to choose between Ruth’s Storymaking with Young People, Lilli’s Improvised Stories and Abbi’s La Maison de Conte: Transmission and Research (sharing session). If only I could clone myself or split myself in 3! Being the ever loyal me, I chose Lilli’s Improvised Stories because I liked her workshop yesterday, and I liked her style of conducting one.
Improvised Stories by Lillian Rodrigues-Pang
The first half of the session was about ‘Yes, And’. This game is popular drama activity among thespians. How is it done? Well, first, the facilitator of this activity would start with a sentence or two. Then when he/she ends, the next person would need to say ‘Yes…and…’ follow by his/her sentence or two that continues from the facilitator’s ‘introduction’. And it continues until the story has an ‘ending’. The rule of this story is not to ‘kill off’ anything mid way, and allow every person to have a chance to develop the ‘story/idea’. The whole concept of this game is to allow each individual to learn to accept ideas and concept offered by another person.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Hmm…not when the story reaches an interesting point, and you tell yourself, ‘Ok, the next person better say this, so that I can continue with THIS (YOUR idea).’ But of course, the following person had a different idea, and says something totally different from what you were thinking. And bam! There goes YOUR idea of YOUR beautiful story. So the challenge would be, to ACCEPT what has been given to you, EMBRACE it, and MOVE ON 🙂 And that’s how one should approach life too. When life throws you lemons, make lemonade 😉
The second part of the session is even more challenging (for me at least). We were divided into 6 groups, and each group was given a slip of paper that had 2-3 sentences. These sentences are part of a story. Our task is to continue the story, but with a different storyline, which means we weren’t supposed to know what the original story was about. Each of us had 2 minutes to tell our own version of the story. My team had one about 2 children who lost their parents and had to fend for themselves by fishing for oysters. It was set in an unheard-of place (I can’t even remember the name now). Man, it was tough! I thought I couldn’t do it. And 2 minutes FELT SO LONG! But applying ‘Yes, and’, I embraced the challenge. My story was about the brother sought help from an old man who lived right at the end of the beach. I didn’t manage to end the story in 2 minutes though 😦 Some of my other team members came up with some very interesting stories 🙂
After lunch, we had to choose between Sherry & Bobby’s The Moral of the Story, Sheila’s Telling Together: Interactive Storytelling for Children with Special Needs and Dr. Gideon & Kamini’s Happily Ever After: Using Stories to Help Adolescents Meet Life’s Challenges. I chose Bobby & Sherry’s workshop.
The Moral of the Story: Character Education through Storytelling by Sherry and Bobby Norfolk
In this workshop, Bobby performed 2 stories. He started with a story about Baby Hawk who wants to learn how to fly. Following that, was a brief discussion on how we could use this kind of story on the first day of school, to tell children the positive behaviours we expect of them.
To further discuss the point, they randomly distributed printed copies of some popular fables. We were asked to read it, and try to identify the moral of the story, then share it with the others (who didn’t get a copy). When we were done, we were to exchange that story with another person so we could all have a chance to read another story. Getting us all to exchange stories this way, would take up time and it was a big audience. I felt this part wasn’t properly managed. It would have been better if there were already printouts that listed those popular fables and the moral of the story at the end of the discussion. This way, the participants can keep them for reference.
Bobby then performed The Lewis & Clark Expedition, telling it through the eyes of York, William Clark’s slave, who was the only African-American member of the “Corps of Discovery”. It’s very different seeing history ‘told’ this way. Definitely more engaging than reading straight from the sleep-inducing history books!
How I felt about the SIFF 2011 overall? This being my first and that I’ve got no other storytelling festivals to compare it to, I’d say this is an awe-inspiring experience, and I can’t wait to put some of the techniques I’ve learnt into practice.
But if I were to compare this to the recent Asian Festival of Children’s Content, SISF wins this hands down. AFCC 2011 was quite a disappointment for me. I felt some speakers weren’t even fully prepared.
I’d also be attending the inaugural Malaysian International Storytelling Festival this weekend. You can read more about it here. Am really looking forward to it 🙂