6 questions I ask every training storyteller

By Limor Shiponi

G said he would know he has become a better storyteller when “It would feel like being a magician”. The next question is – what does he need to learn and practice? Every storyteller needs something different, based on where he is coming from and where he wants to go. You can always become better.

In order to help me find out and pinpoint both expectations and realistic possibilities I use a set of six questions. If you’re going to try it, answer any way you find appropriate. Here are the questions:

  • When I attend someone else’s performance, what might I like about it?
  • When I attend someone else’s performance, what might I dislike about it?
  • When I’m performing, what do I like about it?
  • When I’m performing, what’s difficult?
  • If anything is possible, what is my ultimate dream as a storyteller?
  • What do I consider as a realistic achievement for my current training timeframe?

G’s answers

When I attend someone else’s performance, what might I like about it?
I like seeing the pictures of the story clearly, walking with the storyteller into the story. I like being able to concentrate for a long time as the storyteller keeps me inside the story’s bubble. I also like gathering ideas, understanding how the storyteller uses nuances, power, and gestures – looking at “the work” part.

When I attend someone else’s performance, what might I dislike about it?
I dislike any behavior that signals the storyteller is busy with himself – quibbling, false sweetness, acting out, being insincere. I feel it’s boring and detached from the audience; I’m there for storytelling, not for the circus. I don’t like storytellers who open many ‘asides’ and don’t know how to close them or keep focus through the story.

When I’m performing, what do I like about it?
Seeing people’s eyes, spellbound. Managing to elicit the pictures of a story in people’s minds the right way, the ability to master the crafting of the effect of those visuals. The feeling I know the story’s ‘secrets’. Eliciting in people that bittersweet feeling that arrives when storytelling takes place.

When I’m performing, what’s difficult?
Telling stories I can’t see clear enough. When I know I can’t see the entire story in my mind before I start telling it. Using the full range of my voice. Keeping people for an extended period without activating a sense of urgency, pressure. It’s difficult when audience members talk among them or play with something and I can’t see their eyes, when they are busy with themselves.

If anything is possible, what is my ultimate dream as a storyteller?
Taking any material and turning it into a story. Reading faster, “getting it” faster, ease in general. Using the knowledge performing what I think is right, knowing what is right, being confident in that knowing.

What do I consider as a realistic achievement for my current training timeframe?
Improving in all the above. I don’t think there is something specific I’m looking at right now.

Given G wants a weekly session for a period of ten months, the next issue we’ll be analyzing the above information, aiming at creating a work plan. What would you prescribe?

Next: What do you think about the storyteller?

 

2 thoughts on “6 questions I ask every training storyteller”

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