The Live Art of Storytelling & Narrative Performance
"With storytelling, there is no fourth wall but a fourth window."
~ Misty Mator
The advantage that storytelling has over other forms of theater is that it does not have what’s referred to as “the fourth wall.” The audience are not passive observers of a little world they can’t interact with. I like to say that in storytelling, we have a “fourth window.” Sometimes the storyteller is inside the house of the story, speaking only to or for the characters inside the story, and sometimes the storyteller is speaking directly out the window to the audience. But the storyteller is aware of the audience, the audience knows the storyteller is aware of them. The audience is a part of the story because that interaction through the “fourth window” influences the story. They are empowered to speak back through that window into the house of the story, sometimes literally through speaking and other times through their reactions. The storyteller responds to the feedback the listeners give.
I believe adults are most familiar with this “fourth window” type of theater in stand-up comedy. There’s this electric connection between the speaker and audience because the audience knows the speaker is aware of them. This is true stand-up and storytelling. For Traditional Storytellers, what we present must always be a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But because the goal is a story, it allows us to transcend the “fourth window” experience to include tremulation, horror, hope, courage, and joy….the whole of the human adventure. You can laugh and cry and learn within one single storytelling performance.The result is a powerful and memorable experience.
Workshops and Coaching: Adults
Storytelling is a vital lifelong skill. Whether you are looking for an introduction to storytelling or improving your storytelling skills, please contact me to see how I can meet your needs.
Reading Bicycles: Workshops & Residencies for Schools
Very few people have learned to ride a bike before they learned to walk. I compare reading to riding a bike -- it's a complex activity, utilizing multiple "brain muscles" at once. While reading to students is good (I love books!), telling a story face-to-face engages a child in a unique way. Storytelling allows early readers to improve their vocabulary and comprehension alone, it strengthens their brain's "walking muscles" so that they are better equipped to ride the bike of reading. And a bonus: storytelling activates both brain hemispheres thus increasing learning retention. If your high schoolers are having trouble remembering lessons, try telling them the same thing in a story.
Whether your aim is a Storytelling Early Literacy Enrichment program for your youngest students, a program for your oldest students to tell their own stories, a workshop to teach teachers how to include storytelling in their classrooms, I would love to work with you to create a workshop or residency to meet your needs.
PreK-3rd, 4-6 Performances
My favorite crowd is the PreK-3 crowd, because they're so willing to interact! They are truly the masters of play, and I love sharing stories with them. I specialize in stories that build character and teach morals, I have performed as myself and as my alter-ego "Starla the Storyteller." You can learn more about that at www.starlathestoryteller.com.
With 4-6th graders, I come as Starla or myself depending on the school's request. With this group, we get into more complex stories -- but I still encourage interaction and play!
I have performed at many preschools, schools, libraries, and festivals as Starla, including Pittsburgh's Alphabet Trails and Tales and the Ellwood City Storytelling Festival.
Teen and Adults Performances
I perform for 13+ or adults only venues. My stories are not explicit, but explore plots and themes not appropriate for child friendly festivals. I have also performed stories that would be welcome at an all ages event, but did not have children simply because it was "Mom's Day Out" type event! Please contact me to hear what stories I have that fit your venue's need.
I have performed for the adult venues TELL: Pittsburgh Storytelling Series and Better Said Than Done.