What is entertainment? Television, movies, theatre, books, music, all endeavor to do one thing – to tell a story. At the heart of it all, is one story just trying to be told. When you strip away all of the fancy techniques, the editing, the cinematography, the sets, costumes, makeup, props, etc. When you strip it all away, you get a person telling a story. And that is the heart of the monthly Stories on Stage series which is always a wonderful way to be entertained.
This month, Stories on Stage is collaborating with the Center for Digital Storytelling to bring Distant Voices, a storytelling event that will combine stories and digital media allowing the audience to step into the lives of individuals whose experiences span continents and generations. This unique blend of digital media to tell the story is just part of what the Center for Digital Storytelling does. It is through the use of video and audio that the Center for Digital Storytelling brings the art of the story to life.
Candy Brown will be reading The Headstrong Historian by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and she is quite aware of the impact of technology on storytelling. “Hopefully we can harness the new technology to enjoy storytelling in new and different and imaginative ways.” Lord Cardinal, who will be reading War Dances by Sherman Alexie, agrees. “I think the art of storytelling is still alive although it may now be infused with technological gadgetry to appeal to a wider audience. However the drawback to technology is, if you’re going to be huddled around a campfire telling stories make sure you have a long extension cord”
“Hopefully we can harness the new technology to enjoy storytelling in new and different and imaginative ways.”
Though Mark Rubald, who will be reading Ash by Roddy Doyle, is hopeful that technology doesn’t overtake storytelling. “I do think that reality tv and you tube have deluded the potency and beauty of storytelling. It’s more flashy and shallowly engaging for people to watch snippets of something. But I believe firmly that as people mature, they prefer having a clever, thoughtful, premeditated story told to them in a way that is organized, focused and very thought-provoking.” And the stories brought by The Center for Digital Storytelling are certainly just that – organized, focused and thought-provoking.
Whether it is sitting in a class listening to a teacher or lying in bed as a parent reads aloud from a book, everyone has early memories of storytelling. And just as technology is being used today to infuse new life into storytelling, so too were other techniques from childhood. As Lorne Cardinal reflects, “My favorite storytelling memory is indeed from childhood when my dad use to tell my brother and I stories as we were on long road trips. Usually at night! The shadows out the windows would become the backdrop of those stories being told. Did I just see the man with the long black coat staring at us as we drove by?”
“My favorite storytelling memory is indeed from childhood when my dad use to tell my brother and I stories as we were on long road trips.”
And Candy Brown fondly recalls playing games as a child, as a way of inventing new stories, “When I was younger, I also loved to play a game where a group of people sit in a circle and each person adds one sentence to a story. You never know where the story is going to wind up, and invariably, people want to do it again…and again.”
There is no better way to start creating memories than to head out to a Stories on Stage performance. As Candy Brown offers, “For me, what works so well is that the stories are so well chosen….so diverse. More often than not, I’ve never read or heard the stories, but even if by chance I have, there’s something fun in the recognition and then rediscovering the parts I had forgotten. By having several stories read in an afternoon, one is bound to like some of them even if you don’t like them all. The best part though….the cookies and milk afterwards!”
Stories on Stage Presents:
A Collaboration with the Center for Digital Storytelling
March 11, 2012
1:30 PM and 6:30 PM
Su Teatro at the Denver Civic Theatre
721 Santa Fe Drive in Denver