‘The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling….’
With a few lines dramatized to perfection, and delivered in bold and confident strokes, Raj had all of us captive. Our ears and minds absorbed each word from her mouth, as they spoke through different characters; each pause pregnant with expectation.
The captive audience in question refers to us…16 ‘storytellers’ from Bookworm, all gathered together, for a day long workshop by Rajashree Dutta on the ‘art of storytelling’. Within minutes we realized 3 things:
1) We were just on the threshold of a journey 2) We have a long way to go, and 3) This workshop was going to help lay the path before us.
As always, we began with ‘The Story’.
‘If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And here I made a rule- a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last’ (John Steinback in East of Eden).
We were given 3 points to absorb: Choose the story well, understand what each word is trying to say and analyze it to the extent that it becomes OUR story. With these 3 guidelines our training began.
We went from lying on our backs and breathing in and out (the right way!), to running around madly (as if a bear were chasing us), to correctly differentiating a ‘w’ from a ‘v’ (try saying ‘water vapor’). From these basic thresholds, we moved on to voice. And from voice to expression.
One by one we explored our capabilities, molding our voices to suit each situation. Basics were relearned and for many of us newly learned; and simple but critical aspects were brought to attention.
The team huffed and puffed and blew the roof down, as giants, butterflies, ghosts, sailors and many more characters emerged through various voices and various stances. Under Raj’s careful instruction, voices flew back and forth, shaping sentences through pauses, and emphasis, through loudness and silences.
We analyzed different characters from stories and attempted to voice that analysis. Each of us whispered and yelled and laughed and groaned as 16 different types of characters came alive in the room.
At the end of the day, each bookworm quietly read their piece, as Raj gently accorded praise and critique. And thus we ended as we began; with a storyteller, a captive audience…and a good Book.
‘The role of the storyteller is to awaken the storyteller in others…’
Thank You Rajashree Dutta.