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African Storytelling. Oral story telling? To explain To teach To remember To celebrate To entertain Why learn about African storytelling? To gain insight.

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Presentation on theme: "African Storytelling. Oral story telling? To explain To teach To remember To celebrate To entertain Why learn about African storytelling? To gain insight."— Presentation transcript:

1 African Storytelling

2 Oral story telling? To explain To teach To remember To celebrate To entertain Why learn about African storytelling? To gain insight into a different cultures traditions To broaden understanding of our own cultures traditions

3 Elements of African Stories Importance placed on nature/wildlife May explain an historic event May contain moral instruction Entertainment value Audience participation Caller/ Response

4 Performance Techniques Highly energised performance Movement - transformation Facial expressions Vocal range (Singing, sound effects, accent) Humour Dramatic timing Audience participation

5 Beyond Words: Nonverbal Communication Allowing the body to reflect the story being told can enhance storytelling. As words are spoken, vividly imagine the setting and characters of the story and let your body speak too. In our everyday life we speak with our bodies, faces and gestures as well as our voices. The meaning of what we say is subtly altered by how we stand, move, and gesture while we speak. Even in Complete Silence We Speak For example, how would you say the following sentences without words? "It's too hot." "I'm too cold!" "SSHHH! Be quiet." "Come here." "Come here quickly!" "Stay back! It's dangerous!" "I'm impatient" "I'm tired" "What did you say? (I can't hear you)" While Telling a Story, Let Your Body Speak Try allowing your body to reflect, not demonstrate your words as you are telling your story. If you clearly picture the story in your imagination as you tell it, your body, face, and voice will respond naturally to your inner vision.

6 The Griot A West African storyteller, singer, musician, and oral historian. The griot kept an unwritten record of all births, marriages, and deaths that was passed down from one generation to the next.

7 Mapping Stories to Remember Their Plots Stepping Stones If you have ever stepped across a brook by hopping from one stone to the next, you know how it feels to quickly travel a distance by leaping from one secure spot to another. One effective mapping technique is to draw the stepping stones of a plot. Major moments that lead one to the next would be the noted points in the plot. Graphically, the map could take the form of a flow chart or circles with text inside. The important stepping stones need contain only a few words, or even a small picture, to remind the teller of the sequence of events as the eye travels across the page. Sunday Funnies The colorful cartoon box design of the Sunday funnies could be the model for a folktale map. Draw the folktale as a sequence of boxes that read like a cartoon. The sequence of events could be illustrated with simple images that help the teller remember specific points in the plot, not the words or the story. Important dialogue summaries could be included as thought or speech "bubbles." Time Line A plot is like a timeline of events. Draw a timeline and put the action into chronological order. It is an interesting way to remind yourself of details that must be stated early in the tale.

8 Using Descriptive Language: Words Paint Pictures The storyteller's words are like a painter's colors. Changing just one word in a sentence can alter the picture or detail that a listener is imagining. For example, construct a sentence without any adjectives. Then be more generous. Add some descriptive words and see how the picture evoked by the words changes. The more the storyteller says, the more the listener will "see" in their imagination. No adjectives: –A man walked down the road. Adjectives added: –A tattered old man walked down the hot dusty road. A young man walked down a crowded city road.

9 Improvising with Folktale Skeletons Story Skeletons are the bare bones of the tale, or the plot. Additional detail, setting and characterization can be added to flesh out the story. Be generous and the reader or listener will see the tale in their mind's eye. Everyone's imagination is different, so retellings will differ from teller to teller. Students could retell one of the following tales in their own words, improvising language and adding dialogue between characters. A Skeleton: The Sun and The Wind... an Aesop's Fable The wind and the sun argued about which of them was the strongest. They decided to hold a contest. The sun suggested that they see who could take the coat off of a man walking along the road below them. The wind blew hard, but the man, feeling chilly, held his coat tightly around him. The sun then became gently warmer and warmer. The man felt so hot, he took off his coat. Sometimes, they say, you can get your way more easily with gentleness than by force.

10 With Additional Dialogue: The Sun and The Wind... An Aesop's Fable The North Wind boasted of great strength. The Sun argued that there was great power in gentleness. "We shall have a contest," said the Sun. Far below, a man traveled a winding road. He was wearing a warm winter coat. "As a test of strength," said the Sun, "let us see which of us can take the coat off that man." "It will be quite simple for me to force him to remove his coat," bragged the Wind. The Wind blew so hard, the birds clung to the trees. The world was filled with dust and leaves. But the harder the wind blew, the tighter the shivering man clung to his coat. Then, the Sun came out from behind a cloud. The sun warmed the air and the frosty ground. The man on the road unbuttoned his coat. The Sun grew slowly brighter and brighter. Soon the man felt so hot, he took off his coat and sat down in a shady spot. "How did you do that?" said the Wind. "It was easy," said the Sun. "I lit the day. Through gentleness I got my way."

11 Practice and Stage Fright Practice! A story grows each time it is told, becoming more vivid in the imagination of the storyteller. New details may enter the storyteller's mental picture of the tale. Those new details then can be brought out in the telling of the story for the listener to enjoy. Practicing a tale can start by simply "chatting" it out loud to oneself and then move on to telling it to just one person. It is in the actual telling that a story takes shape. As a teller gains confidence, telling to a larger group becomes more comfortable. Stage Fright The best way to improve storytelling skills is to practice telling stories. As your listeners travel into the tale with you, trust that your words will inspire their imaginations to conjure pictures. As those pictures become more vivid, the storyteller fades into the background. Rather than wasting any energy on having stage fright or being self conscious, truly give yourself over to telling your story. The more you inhabit your tale, the more listeners will be transported to the imaginary world you are creating for them and you, the teller, will virtually disappear. Still Nervous? Those jittery feelings of nervousness are very similar to the feelings of being excited. Help yourself relax by affirming, "I am excited to tell this tale!" Use that adrenaline for a useful purpose, to encourage you to get up and share the story!

12 You Are Ready! 1.Choose an African Folktale 2.Read it to yourself 3.Close your eyes and try to see the story's plot as if it were a "movie" inside your head. 4.If there are any parts that you were not able to clearly remember: Read the story again. Watch the movie again 5.Write a short skeleton of the myth 6.Add dialogue 7.Add nonverbal elements 8.Add props or costumes 9.Practice! 10.Ask a friend to be a good listener. Then have fun retelling the plot in your own words, picturing the story in your imagination while you tell it. Allow yourself to "become" the characters as well as the narrator.

13 Works Cited "Story Arts | Retelling Folktales." Story Arts | Story Arts Online! 28 Apr. 2009

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