Students share experiences, talents in ‘Storytellers Theatre’

By Kevin Bartelt

“He said something that stuck: ‘It was a Christmas miracle,’” said Michael Rodriguez.

As a child, Rodriguez was hit by a car in a snowy December day while picking up groceries. He woke up two days after the accident in a hospital as the doctor explained to his parents that he was 100 percent okay.

Rodriguez was one of about 15 students who performed in the School of Theatre and Dance’s production Storytellers Theatre Thursday through Sunday in the Corner Theatre of the Stevens Building.

The students told tales ranging in topic from Hansel and Gretel to their own personal narratives. Storytellers Theatre serves as the final exam in Patricia Ridge’s Fundamentals of Storytelling class.

The production went for an hour and 20 minutes, and each story ranged anywhere between four and 10 minutes. There was a holiday theme throughout the performance with students speaking in front of a decorative Christmas tree with presents. Some of the stories were told by two speakers. The duo performers demonstrated a clear synergy as they complimented each other’s performance.

The content of the narratives allured the audience throughout the production.

“The stories told were very interesting,” said Reece Holliman, sophomore acting student and attendee. “They were all good and the storytellers were so committed and so engaging.”

Colin Gorman and Calvin Coran recited The Soldier and Death, a Russian folk tale by Arthur Ransome. The story is about a soldier who tricks Death into a sack so nobody dies. However, people aren’t supposed to live forever. Eventually, the soldier begs Death to kill him, but it refuses. According to the story, the soldier roams Earth to this day.

Nick Bryant reflected on his experience seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at midnight in theaters. This humorous journey brings up interesting points about waiting for 14 hours at a movie theater. Bryant used great sensory detail as he described the moment the ushers moved the ropes for the audience to enter.

“It was like the running of the bulls in Madrid,” Bryant yelled. “There were some Albus Dumbledores, some Harry Potters, some Twilight fans. I didn’t know what was going on.”

The last tale was Cinderella as performed by Hannah Barbeau. This performance was unique because of Barbeau’s use of spoonerism, a play on words by switching letters around. For example, instead of “the stroke of midnight,” she would say “the moke of sidnight.” This made her entire performance an impressive tongue twister.

Storytellers Theatre is presented every fall, so if you missed your opportunity to see it this year, keep it in mind for 2013.