It is 6:00 pm. The Youth of the Year participants have survived a school day. Maybe they’ve spent some time at sports practice, maybe they’ve been doing homework. These kids are motivated, but I’d better get them out of their seats and moving around before I lose them. Here’s what I do at the beginning of our second meeting. (We won’t have time to go through the entire process during my workshop during the National Storytelling Network Conference at the end of July, so I’m sharing it now.)
I start by telling a simple story. Then I draw a (very large) blank storyboard on the white board. (If there’s no whiteboard a flip chart works as well). We talk about what the first scene should be and I draw it while everybody watches.
This is important! I am modelling the level of artistic skill I expect from the youth – absolutely none! I am really really bad at drawing.
Then I ask what should go in the next square. I hand the marker to the first person who answers the question.
This is when the fun begins. People talk while they draw. Their friends make comments. What does a frog look like, anyway?
Soon everybody is laughing and we’re on to the next square. Once our storyboard is done, volunteers stand up re-tell the story, using the pictures if they get stuck. Usually nobody gets stuck. And everybody is turning into a storyteller.
There it is – physical movement, laughter, the opportunity to show off and to have fun together.
Harriet has told stories at the Phoenix Fringe and at the Gila Bend Shrimp Festivals. She’s taken part in the AZStorytellers Project and in StoryRise events. As an instructor at the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute, she has performed in many events including the La Lloronathon and a number of Myth Informed concerts.