|Painting - by Edward Robert Hughes|
You can buy this at Allposters.com
My answer: Definitely.
I tell "stories from around the world and back through time." The second part of that includes my various historical reenactment programs. This question fits into much of the first part of my storytelling mission.
At the risk of becoming a "blahblah" blog of opinions, I want to consider the role of fairy tales and folktales in storytelling.
|One of the Tuatha De Danann from http://al-tirnanog.blogspot.com/|
Probably the most accurate and broadest name would be Traditional Tale, which certainly includes material told by adults, but eliminates literary tales like either Potter, Beatrix or Harry. If I want to tell a story with a Disney version or even some other version fairly well known, but I'm telling a variant, I let my listeners know this will sound a bit familiar, but to listen for the parts that are different. Fractured tales are popular now, but it pays to be sure the group knows the original or they won't appreciate it and catch the changes.
If that's the case, why are personal tales so popular in festivals and story slams? Are they better suited to adult audiences?
To understand, look at how U.S. storytelling festivals changed over the years. At the beginning of storytelling festivals you could tape the stories since all were traditional tales. Gradually performers personalized stories with music and other ways of making a story "their own", then began selling their tapes, so we were told not to record performances. Next came tellers of personal stories. You might refer to something happening to a particular storyteller, BUT it was untrue, as well as unethical, to retell the story and claim such things happened to yourself and not the original storyteller.
The relatively short time permitted in story slam performance is also better suited to anecdotes.
Traditional Storytelling and then The Cultural Traditions of Storytelling in his huge website of Storytelling Resources for Storytellers.
In my own view, our litigious society here in the U.S. has led to fear retelling the very folk literature able to help us understand other cultures. Is it any wonder many cultures don't want their tales told except by storytellers steeped in the culture they are representing, if a teller is going to change it that much?
Perhaps Tim also mentioned a better way when he said: that doesn't tend to mean actually changing the tale. It means bringing the tale to life and inhabiting it, so that it's an authentic expression from the heart. It's just that all that can be done without interfering with the tale.
In my own consideration of all this, I believe copyright limitations and a desire to stand out from other tellers led to so many personal stories. Some storytellers question if it might also have something to do with the American psyche? Perhaps, but major tellers who give personal tales usually weave humor into their stories if they want to keep me listening for very many stories. I question the durability of most of these stories lasting long enough for anyone to remember them when they finally become old enough to reach Public Domain.
The Fairy Tale Lobby. Questions and characters there might even get you thinking about how fairy tales still belong in publications, conferences, festivals and the repertoire of storytellers, whether professional or amateur. After all, the root of the word "amateur" is "love."
I believe there's still a need for folk literature, including the fairy tale. If people don't know their own culture with its folktales and don't learn the folklore of other cultures, we will degenerate into a land of the mass media and misunderstand anyone who isn't the same.
Thank you for considering all of this. I hope you, too, will Tell A Fairy Tale, and not just on February 26. I also warn you to read this discussion only once or twice. Feel free to tell others, but be careful as John D. Batten warned on August 29, 1891:
Hmmmm. There are many Battens, including ancestors of mine, but it's a story that might put you to sleep like that warning.
LoiS(tepping down from my soapbox, but not from telling traditional tales)
P.S. Looks like there may be other ideas to add as we near the 26th. Just saw this and think it deserves adding, 8 Reasons Why Fairy Tales Are Essential to Childhood . Additionally fellow storyteller and friend, Karen Chace's blog, "Celebrate with tell a fairy tale day!", gives a wonderful assortment of links to tales, curriculum ideas, and crafts. She kindly just linked to this blog, but her "heads up" back on January 31 gave me a nudge to add this extra blog article since I usually stick to publishing just once a month.
I've long loved the Einstein quote mentioned in the "8 Reasons" . . .
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”Because I think this is truly important, other articles on this important topic coming my way may also be added. Then again, it may need an additional article here. Just can't get enough of these.
― Albert Einstein
― Albert Einstein