The story-vine…

One of the several ways in which we organize our storytelling performances is inspired by a West African tradition that, at least until recently, was still alive. In some countries of that part of the continent, professional storytellers offered their wares in the marketplace hanging a vine or net from two poles and putting in it different objects, each of which represented a tale in the storyteller’s repertory. The objects ranged from a simple pebble to, say, a dried monkey paw. Prospective customers choose the object that most attracted them, and after the unavoidable bargaining, the teller told his story.

Our story-vine is inspired in this tradition. We hang different objects from it, each of which has at least one story attached to it. Of course, we don’t bargain with audience for the price of the stories, but let them choose the object they want. A performance normally lasts about an hour, after which there always remain untold stories which maybe will stimulate the listener’s desire to come to future performances.

We can tell the stories in English, or in Spanish and English. In this second form Helena tells the tale in Spanish and Jose tells it in English. The English version, rather than a translation proper, amounts to a second telling of the story in Spanish. In this way, the audience has the opportunity to enjoy the music of two languages, two voices, two different ways of telling the same story.

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