Did you get to any of the events at the recent two-week-long Storytelling Festival? I managed to see 10 performers and wished I had time for more. The festival is over for this year but storytelling continues. You can experience it every Friday evening at the Innis College Cafe at 2 Sussex St., close to the St. George subway. The festival with its workshops and performers should be back next March.
I was especially interested in the free events (as usual) and those with an ethnic component. Please let us know your impression of others of this genre. Romaine Jones told us about Peter Chand’s Indian Cinderella who lost her nose ring, not her shoe.
Storytelling is not just for children. It’s for adults too, something for the whole family. It stimulates your own imagination. It usually gives you a chance to interact with other people. You can cheer the hero and boo the villian. You can ask questions afterwards – something you usually can’t do with a television set.
As Rainos Mutamba was talking in his soft Zimbabwe accent, he punctuated his story with music from his tinkling kalimba. He took us to Africa. We were around a bonfire, surrounded by villagers and the darkness beyond with its scary animal sounds. His story was about a queen’s test for a wise and compassionate successor.
The stories aimed especially at children were understandably lively and humourous. Maureen Belanger, a Metis from Saskatchewan, was very funny as her “full-blooded, half-breed” persona Ernestine. Yasmin Siddiqui got everyone singing Jamaican songs in patois.
Rubena Sinha wove her own immigrant story with a 15th century story from her native India. She accented it with graceful movements from Indian classical dance. Brian Hetherington had his audience silent and attentive as he talked of a family forced by the potato blight to move to a new life in Canada. The styles were all different.