Thursday, July 8, 2021

 


The Tale Tellers of St. Augustine

 Surviving and Thriving in the Year of COVID


 by Debra Weller, President

     Can a storytelling guild exist for twenty-eight years? Yes, it can! 

      The Tale Tellers of St. Augustine is a performing guild of talented storytellers, poets and actors who devote themselves to storytelling as both an art form and entertainment medium. We are comprised of thirty members, some love to perform and some are story enthusiasts and supporters. TTSA is an example of what a small, local non-profit organization can accomplish. We have had a local, state and national presence in St. Augustine and beyond since 1993.

     In collaboration with local groups and service clubs, we have been able to have benefit performances on behalf of many local charities. This past year Chris Kastle and Debra Weller were able to return to some schools in the spring semester to continue our Art in Stories performances for the Crisp-Ellert Grant. 

    The storytellers told a story in classroom in the St. Augustine Schools and the children created complementary art projects which were displayed at our May Family Story Fest. In the past we have partnered with The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and the St. Johns County Public Library.  Many of our tellers have participated in the Romanza Festivale and the Celtic Festival. We are hoping to revive our Theater of the Mind: Storytelling presentations at the Limelight Theater in the winter of 2022. Tellabration and Gory Stories are on the fall line- up.

     How did we survive Pandemic restrictions? At first, we were in the stunned state trying to pivot into new safe, virtual formats like Zoom. We lost out on using the St. John’s Public Library, the Limelight Theater and using a local church for meeting and performance space. Our Board of Directors met outside when the weather permitted as we enjoyed seeing one another with social distancing precautions.  Then we began holding our second Monday of the month meetings on Zoom. It took a few meetings to get everyone familiar with the Zoom set up. It was a saving grace allowing us to conduct business meetings, hold discussions and of course tell stories!

     In January of 2021 we were able to secure a space on an outdoor stage in Vilano Beach. We scheduled four performances, Eddie and Robin Mahonen, in February, XX Marks the Spot, Celebrating Women’s History Month in March, Pirates, Crackers and Spanish Dons in April and a Family Story Festival in May. Mother Nature caused us to postpone and reschedule two of the events but we prevailed and had nice sized audiences.  There are some perils in outdoor events.




                         Audiences turned out for The Tale Tellers new location in Vilano Beach

     Our members are quite active on the state, national, and international stages. Debra Weller and Margaret Kaler serve on Board of Directors for the Florida Storytelling Festival. Many of our members have served FSA in the past and have received awards for service. We participate in the annual Florida Folk Festival. In this Pandemic year Debra Weller and Chris Kastle have participated in storytelling festivals on Zoom with audiences in India. Many members have been telling on virtual stages for NSN and other national and international programs. Storytelling has stood the test of time and has weathered the storm!

     The guild was formed in 1990 when a small group of story enthusiasts worked with the renowned Florida storyteller, Gamble Rogers to produce the first St. Augustine Storytelling Festival. After his death in 1993, the people of the town requested more stories. This tiny group joined with energy, mind and spirit to form the Tale Tellers of St. Augustine to honor one man’s simple dream of having storytelling in his hometown. We continue to honor that legacy.

   You can join the Tale Tellers of St. Augustine or support our mission by visiting our web site, www.taletelers.org.



Debra Weller

Professional Storyteller
Early Childhood Consultant 
https://story-tellingcourses.com
@debstoryteller, Instagram
I teach people how to overcome the fear of public speaking  and  to gain confidence by engaging the audience through storytelling. 
I tell stories to delight audiences!




Thursday, June 3, 2021

How to Get Others Involved in Storytelling

 

Community Storytelling Is My Passion

By Caren S. Neile, Ph.D.

 

My father, my stepbrother and I were involved in community theater down in Fort Lauderdale. The lead actress had so many lines that she was always forgetting them. So you would be in the dressing room, which was upstairs and down the hall from the stage, and suddenly you would hear your cue half an hour before you were supposed to go on! She would forget a different part every night, so castmembers ran back and forth trying to make the performances work.

                                                                                                     -Community storyteller

 

There’s one thing I like even better than telling stories: giving others the opportunity to tell theirs. For two decades, I have worked with dozens of organizations and thousands of people to provide engaging ways to give voice to their stories. After all, don’t we, as storytellers, know that everyone has a story? Don’t we know the value of listening, and being listened to? Here is a gift we can give others that definitely keeps on giving.

What follows are stories from some of my experiences that may inspire you to engage in community storytelling.

 

Storytelling slams: One of the hottest tickets in community storytelling is the storytelling slam, a friendly competition that invites people to tell their true stories in a performance setting. I have held slams in coffee shops, a bar, and most recently online. My current sponsor is the local library.

One Sunday evening I was tired and frankly not in the mood to host the event, but it was advertised, and of course I went. One of the tellers who signed up turned out to be a ninety-year-old man, who was helped to the stage by his younger cousin. Was his story going to be relevant to the college students in the audience, I wondered? He proceeded to tell a story from his days in a Nazi concentration camp. I thought the man was nervous because his eyes were shut; it turned out that he was nearly blind.  Yet despite his age and infirmity, he kept the crowd, some of whom were seventy years younger, absolutely spellbound. I was in awe.

Professional storytelling series: What could be better than bringing great storytellers to perform in your hometown? Courtesy of local theaters, schools and libraries, I have invited dozens of nationally acclaimed storytellers. I generally take care of airport transport, and they stay at the homes of generous storytellers, friends, or at hotels.

Early on, I was able to invite one of the foremost storytellers in the country to my town. Not only was she one of my favorites, but I also had a special feeling about her from her performances. Other than briefly introducing myself at the National Storytelling Festival, however, we had never met. From the moment I picked her up at the airport, we clicked. Since then we have worked together on several projects, I have been her guest in another state a number of times, and we have maintained a rewarding personal and professional relationship. More importantly, she has shared her talents in my area through workshops and performances with storytellers, story listeners and others several times. What an unexpected gift!

Local public radio:  Public radio stations are often seeking local content. Since 2009, I have co-hosted and produced a segment that invites people in the listening area to tell brief, first-person local stories. These are edited by my co-host, who is an employee of the station. My co-host and I then discuss the story on air. The excerpt with which I began this piece is from that segment.    

Storytelling workshops for non-profits: As more non-profit administrators learn the benefits of storytelling, we have an increasing number of opportunities to help them assist their clients by offering workshops. I once led a workshop for a homeless organization. I entered into the project with some trepidation, having no idea what to expect. One man emerged as a leader in the group, paving the way for others by speaking up often and eagerly, thereby demonstrating that I was not going to judge or criticize. It was not the first time, and certainly not the last, when my “students” taught me how to be more open, honest and humble. We followed the workshop with a slam. While the stories of hardship and endurance that emerged were amazing, the looks of pride on the faces of the storytellers, listeners and administrators were priceless.

Senior communities:  They may not always hear so well, but seniors sure know how to listen. In fact, the longer people have lived, the better acquainted with storytelling they often are. I started leading a story-sharing group at a senior center in 2001; as the group changed, I found myself telling stories and doing the TimeSlips technique (timeslips.org) more often than listening. Nevertheless, I always gave the seniors time to tell. Assisted and independent living facilities, as well as women’s and cultural groups, are other great venues that need programming.

Storytelling performances for non-profits: Not all community storytelling is exclusive from performance, of course. I have also interviewed stakeholders and created corporate stories for non-profits. I once told a story for Goodwill Industries from the perspective of a client. Afterward my aunt, who was in the audience, told me she became so involved that she thought I was talking about myself!  

 

While I haven’t gotten wealthy from these endeavors, helping people get their voices heard fills me with joy. And hey, I’ll never run out of stories!


Caren S. Neile
Caren S. Neile, Ph.D., is the former chair of the National Storytelling Network and a former board member of FSA. She has taught storytelling studies at Florida Atlantic University since 2001. cneile@fau.edu



 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

 

Isolation, Incubation©
by Susan O'Hara

Isolation? Incubation?

Whatever Covid-19 has done to restrict us, we must not, as artists, let it stop us, control us or limit our creative natures. For all of time, human beings have created even- during war, famine, or when imprisoned. Adversity has been a great generator of creativity. Our minds keep creating and producing story through whatever medium we have at hand.

This pandemic is a new way in which we can stop and consider the gifts of talent we have been given. We need to create out of those gifts meaningful substance that will heal others. It is a well-known fact that stories heal. By healing others through our art, we also heal ourselves. Individuals and whole communities heal and thrive through their stories.

Our young children need stories. They grow by learning to speak out in story. Our Youthful Voices participants learn to appreciate their own ideas and talents as they begin to speak out and develop a sense of community. They raise their voices and remind adults to cherish where we came from. We were, after all, children too.

Beautiful butterflies lay their tiny eggs on the underside of leaves. They become hungry caterpillars who eat and eat, sometimes destroying lovely plants. They spin unsightly cocoons that eventually become beautiful butterflies. It’s a process.

We too are like a butterfly in the making. We make mistakes, stumble and fall. Our chrysalis isn't always pretty. We pick ourselves up and learn from our mistakes, failures and successes to build really great stories for others to hear. We might always look (or feel or think) our best, but we are works in process!

I wonder what great stories Covid-19 will inspire? Stories that will explain what we learned about ourselves? Were we frightened, or brave during this time? Did our time behind the mask strengthen us or turn us into a softer version of ourselves? Did we become afraid to stretch out and learn something new? Do we become bolder? Did we learn a bit of humility? Did we learn something life changing?

 At Storyhub, we have seen how service to others helps people get through these difficult times. We have continued to help others with their stories and projects. We have grown and have made new friends. Those who truly have the passion to create and develop, continue doing so. It takes time and a team to build an artistic endeavor. Gather about you a team of dreamers with the talents to make things happen, put in your own best self, and create!  Our circumstances will change, and you will have a new body of work to share.

So don't give up or give in. Have integrity and be your best self. Reach out to like-minded creatives, support your peers, and produce. In coming together as a community, we continue to create, and grow. Turn your isolation in to incubation!

Keep on the path and journey on! Your story is counting on you!



Susan O'Hara resides on the east coast of Florida. She has been practicing the art of storytelling for 23 years. Susan also loves to coach the youth in stories and loves Youthful Voices! Susan loves incorporating puppets in her storytelling. See them on YouTube Storyhub channel. You can contact her at StoryArtistry.net/contact-us. 



Monday, January 4, 2021

 

                      Storytelling in the Schools: How to Make Study Guides                        

©Katie Adams


When I was a child, I loved to act out scenes and stories and I always had big emotional reactions to events in my life. Now I realize I was… a drama queen. As I grew up I gravitated to theatrical jobs, and found myself working in a puppet theater company and doing side work as a storyteller. I discovered my favorite audiences were elementary aged children and families, and I especially liked performing in the schools.

I have a lot of inspiration, creativity, and enjoyment developing folktales and fairytales for young audiences. Schools, however, need to be able to justify art experiences in terms of their core curriculum and the required learning benchmarks the teachers have to meet. Over the years as schools have become more pressured with testing, they have had trouble supporting arts experiences for the students. If storytellers want to present their art form in schools, the challenge is how to reach across this divide.

Enter the study guide. Study guides are a bridge between creative content and required educational benchmarks.

Study guides can be made for teachers or students. I’ve always made teacher’s study guides, which means I’m talking to the teacher and giving them ideas and activities they share with their class.  Basically the Study Guide has six components.

The study guide introduces the art form, the specific art experience and the artist.  You can do a general introduction to storytelling, explaining what it is.  Then write about the actual stories you will be presenting – maybe include a synopsis. Finally include a biography about yourself and information so that students can write to you or follow you on social media. (I usually put my artist’s bio at the end of the whole study guide.)

The Study Guide makes Curriculum Connections.  Ask yourself, ”Does my story relate to Language Arts?” Most likely it does. How about science? Math? History? Music? If you can clearly see that your storytelling program deals with one or more of these study areas, you need to promote that to the teachers and schools you are working with.  Many storytellers will put “Curriculum Connections” up near the title of the study guide and list them out, i.e. Reading, Language Arts, Theater, etc.

The study guide lists Florida Standards that are covered by the arts experience and study guide activities. What are Florida Standards, you ask? According to the Florida Education Foundation, “Florida School Standards are simple statements about what students are expected to know or do as a result of what they learn in class. Standards ensure that all schools and all classrooms have the same expectations for students.“

All the teachers in the public schools in Florida have to make sure these standards are met for their class(s) in each subject. By putting applicable standards in your study guide, you help teachers connect the art of storytelling to the standards they are trying to meet. 

Where can you find these standards? www.cpalms.org.

Quoting from the CPALMS website, “CPALMS is an online toolbox of information, vetted resources, and interactive tools that helps educators effectively implement teaching standards. It is the State of Florida's official source for standards information and course descriptions.”

This is a website with a ton of information – it can be overwhelming. What I usually do is click on the standards tab at the top of the home page. Then select the type of studies you want to connect your storytelling to – English Language Arts is a good one. Then select grade level and the standards will pop up with descriptions. You can read through the descriptions to see which relate to your performance and the activities in the study guide.  When you find descriptions that relate, you can copy and paste the title of the standard into your study guide. I try to have standards for each grade level, and subject, my performance is appropriate for.  I might have 10 to 20 titles of standards in my study guide.

The Study Guide presents pre-show activities the teacher can do with students to prepare them for the art experience.  Think of questions your audience may have or information they need to understand the context and setting of the story.

This includes history, geography, cultural studies, theater or audience etiquette, character education and story comparisons. You can pick discussion topics, explanations, graphics, learning games and more for your activities. Be sure they are grade appropriate and don’t forget to add corresponding standards.  

The Study Guide provides post-show activities that further engage the students in the art form and make connections to classroom studies. Sometimes making these study guides can seem tedious and uncreative, however, these pre- and post show activities can be fun to explore, develop and include in your study guide. With the post show activities, you can give instructions to encourage the students to try storytelling games, tell stories to their families, or learn to tell a folktale. You can also include activities that emphasis the connection between your storytelling and subjects such as Language arts, science, math, history, music or theater. (Don’t forget to add the corresponding standards.)

The Study Guide gives a bibliography of further reading and online resources. This is pretty self-explanatory, just make sure that your books and online resources are child friendly and grade appropriate.

So I hope if you are not already doing so, you will add study guides to your school offerings.

Here are three helpful resources.

1.      www.CPALMS.org - for locating Florida Standards.

2.      The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, www.kennedy-center.org - I always find their website and educational materials to be very inspiring.  You can go to: The Kennedy Center > Education > Resources for Educators > Digital Resources > Lessons and Activities.

3.      Talk to teachers in grade levels you work with. Teachers will brainstorm with you about how your storytelling can relate to subjects they are teaching their students.

 

 

 


Katie Adams is an innovative, multimedia storyteller, actress  & puppeteer. She is the founder of Make Believe Theater. You can learn more about her here: www.katieadamstheater.com  or here www.facebook.com/katieadamsmakebelievetheater

and reach her at (813) 282-4993.

 

 

   

Sunday, November 22, 2020


 

Rediscovering Our Value

©Kaye Byrnes 2020

 

   Where were you in March, when COVID-19 swept away our storytelling venues? Did you have programs scheduled in schools, libraries, care and senior centers, festivals? Over the course of three days I was flooded with emails and phone calls, “I’m so sorry but…” Cancelled, cancelled, cancelled.

   I watch as others begin the transition to virtual programming. Can this old dog learn that new trick? A few opportunities convince me I can but telling stories into a camera is not the same. For some of us, it’s a lot more technical work and less satisfaction. Where does that leave storytellers like me, and maybe you too?

   Adrift and afraid. Suspended between the trapeze bars, letting go of what was known and reaching for something new. I wonder if and when storytellers will again gather face-to-face with people, earn a living and revel in the joy of that “story bubble.” But sometimes in the winds of change, we find our true direction.

   A local friend brought her elderly mother, Gladys, to Florida for the winter. COVID prevented them from taking her home as planned. Like all our snowbirds, Gladys loved the warm weather and her studio apartment in the pool house. At 88, she had become rather sedentary and over-indulged in blueberry pie. Since she knew no one here, I visited often and we became buddies, enjoying our time together. We sat in the pool house, singing as I strummed my ukulele. She told me of the many places she had long ago visited with her now deceased beloved, Chuck. She delighted in watching old show tunes on YouTube.

  She had never heard of storytelling and quickly became a fan. Not once did I arrive or depart without her remarking with a smile, “Don’t forget, I want another story.” Sharing the story bubble with Gladys let me keep one toe in that precious space.

   In early June, Gladys was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer and courageously declined any treatment. She rode out the last weeks of life in the pool house, asking for more stories. In her final days she would nod her head, eyes closed as she listened. On August 16, she quietly passed away. It will always be my sacred honor to have given her the comfort and joy that stories offer us all.

   It was great to earn a living as a storyteller, affirming to have gigs on the calendar and rewarding to hear the applause. But Gladys reminded me that’s not what it’s about.  We are storytellers. We are artists that gather stories in our heart and hold them there forever. The greatest satisfaction comes from telling the right story, to the right person, at the right time; knowing that the story has moved from your heart to theirs.

    As we navigate these crazy, upside-down, inside-out days of change let’s remember and hold on to our true purpose as storytellers; to entertain, to enlighten, to educate, to comfort, to calm. Our value lies not on a stage but in the stories.

 

 

 

Kaye Byrnes has been sharing stories with children and adults since 1996.  Her repertoire of folktales, fairy tales, fables, myths, legends, and classic literature along with original and historical stories is carefully crafted for listeners of any age.  Pre-COVID, she performed regularly for schools, libraries, care facilities, service groups, festivals, conferences and community events. As a workshop and retreat leader, Byrnes helps others find their own creative spirit and storytelling voice. Her workshops are highly participatory and those who come with trepidation leave inspired and confident.  These days, she spend her days wondering what the future holds.




Wednesday, November 4, 2020

 

        Hamilton and  Me
©2020 Linda Gorham  


           

 And I’m not throwing away my shot! 

 

Dear Storytellers,

You could call me obsessed. Not clinically. Not dangerously. Obsessed in a good way – at least I hope.I am obsessed with the storytelling concepts showcased in the Broadway play“Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

I never saw Hamilton live. I tried. I stood among the crowds outside the Richard Rogers Theatre in New York Cityhoping my name would be called in the $10 just-before-curtain fan lottery. When the play came to Chicago, I joined other eager hopefuls standing in the hot sun. “Please, please call my name.” Nope! They didn’t.

Then when I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and the $10 lottery went on line, I signed up every day for months – not just for the touring show that came to Charlotte (2 ½ hours away) but also to performances all over the country. I figured the price of plane fare and a hotel night would still be cheaper than $600-$1600 for two tickets in New York City. I actually know people who won tickets on-line … but alas … not me.

And then this year Disney announced a Hamilton movie was coming out. It was filmed over three days in front of a live audience in New York City and it was going to be available on Disney+. My first thought, “Okay, how much is this going to set me back?” The answer: $6.99 for a month by month subscription. “Really? Are you kidding me? You mean I will feel like I’m in front row seats? The really expensive, reserved for VIPs seats? Sign me up.”

So far, I have seen Hamilton five times. I am still fascinated (okay obsessed!) by it and I intend to watch it at least a few more times. The play is a synthesis of everything I enjoy about live theater and quality storytelling:

·         Truth: Well-researched stories – either personal, historical or folklore – that reflect a universal truth and/or that speak to the storyteller’s own story or journey

·         Twist: Narrative that is unexpected, creative, unique and current

·         Technique: Music, rhythm, dance, songs and whatever else adds interest

Now I enjoy a well-crafted story simply and sincerely told, but I have to admit I’m a fan of adding a little creativity. Okay … a lot. I love flair; I love humor, even in serious stories; and I love the wildly unexpected. These techniques coupled with truth and sincerity, captivate me – especially when there is a connection to the current world. And Hamilton has it all – outstanding lyrics, unique rap rhythms, phenomenal dancers, amazing singers and talented actors that reflect America– people of many colors. No wonder the play won eleven Tony Awards and a 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. It is storytelling at its best!

In a nutshell, the play tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, a key figure in the American Revolution (late 1700’s),and the fight to free American colonists from what they saw as control and tyranny from the British regime. It details Alexander Hamilton’s loves, challenges, friendships, accomplishments, and his ultimate death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

The music will stick in my brain forever. The dancers were sexy, strong and mesmerizing. (I wish I could do dance like that!) But what really impressed me was the decision to cast Black and Brown actors as the Founding Fathers. In Miranda’s words, Hamilton is about "America then, as told by America now.”

America now. Like so many, I believe the United States of America is far from the stated ideals of the American Revolution. This country is still in need of a cultural revolution of acceptance, understanding, kindness and equal treatment for all. All over the country, Americans of all ages, races, genders and creeds are writing, speaking and marching for injustices. And many of iconic phrases from Hamilton are displayed on protest signs:

 

“Rise Up.”

“Immigrants, They Get the Job Done.”

“History Has Its Eyes on You.”

“Who Lives? Who Dies? Who Tells Your Story?”

 

Storytelling now. Black Lives Matter. Me Too Movement. COVID-19. We are living in a mask wearing, six-feet-apart, non-hugging world. Camera phones have captured horrible crimes. Tweets have incited viciousness. Rudeness is rampant. Everything has changed (or at least everything seems amplified). I join many in feeling drained and uninspired when it comes to my work as a storyteller. Michelle Obama put my malaise into words when she said she felt “some form of low-grade depression.” I feel it too. I miss the energy of live audiences. I miss the laughter, the ah-ha’s, and the call and response. I miss the human touch … the hugs.

 But, as they say … this, too, shall pass. I will, one day, become re-energized. I will be inspired to create new stories. And when I do, I believe I will emerge with a Hamilton inspired energy because I know that storytellers are in a unique position to Rise Up and Get the Job Done by including more important stories in our repertoires.

We have the opportunity to dig deep into old folktales and myths and ask: “Why have their messages about morals, survival and the world around us endured? ”“How should these stories be retold for today’s audiences and todays issues?” We have the chance to tell tall tales that speak to universal truths about justice, fairness and acceptance. We have the skills to research and craft stories – our stories, her-stories, his-stories – and share them stylized, twisted and musicalized. We are in a unique position to educate and enlighten through story – and we must think about how we can do that effectively.

My favorite line from Hamilton is when Lin-Manuel Miranda, as Alexander Hamilton, sings about his passionate need to work tirelessly on designing and fighting for a new nation.

 

I am not throwing away my shot .I am not throwing away my shot.

I am just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry

and I’m not throwing away my shot!

                      

         Storytellers, we have the audience. Don’t throw away your shot!

 

 



                                                  



For the past 30 years, Linda Gorham has engaged audiences internationally, with poignant 
and humorous family stories; interactive folktales; notably twisted fairy tales; and riveting, well-researched historical stories. Each performance is infused with Linda’s unconventional humor and her signature ‘sophisticated attitude’. We are thrilled that she will be one of our featured storytellers at the 2021 Florida Storytelling Festival. And because it will be a virtual festival, you'll be able to join us from anywhere. Linda can be reached here Lgorham3@gmail


Friday, October 2, 2020

 

                        Monsters, and Things That Go Bump in the Night                                                                                          By Mitchell O'Rear

The campfire is radiating a warm glow as dusk falls, listeners are huddled close (ok… pre-covid), a teller, dressed all in  black, stands before the group and makes a quick survey of the audience – not a child in sight.  Time to bring out the most blood curdling, bone chilling, spine tingling tale the teller knows.  And why?  Because many adults love being scared – really love it (myself included). Is it a throwback to childhood when we believed that monsters were hiding in the closet, or, even worse, under the bed? Is it a safe and fun way to escape the harsh realities of the real world? Or, is it a chance to let the imagination run with wild abandonment into the realm of the mysterious filled with creepy crawlers, boogey men, and horrifying sounds?  For me, it’s all of the above!

 

There is nothing more satisfying than to besitting in the dark and taken down the path of the unknown by a skilled storyteller who has the precision to take us there.  It’s all about the tone. It has to be perfect from the moment the teller takes the stage. They know something wicked this way comes, but they aren’t going to let us know until the right moment.  Their posture tells us that nothing good is going to come of this story. No, the people in the story are not going to be ok. Bad is coming…really bad. And the attitude of the teller.  The twinkle in their eye, and the slight rise in the eyebrow…they seem know what is about to happen, but very carefully conceal the upcoming horror and dread to themselves until that one moment when…Boo! They get us really good…or bad.  And, despite the ghastly, ghoulish tale we have just the shared with the rest of audience we all have understanding that we’re going to be ok. Listening to a scary story gives us permission to play out our worst fears imagined in a safe and secure setting. 

 

We can share the fear and dread with the other listeners all the while knowing that as soon as the story ends we can walk back to our cars, drive home and lock the door safely behind us.  Of course we might take an extra look in the hallway closet before going to bed…just to make sure our winter coat is still there (even though it’s July) Or we may check to see if our golfing shoes are still under the bed (even though we don’t golf). And of course we will chuckle at how silly we are being.  Of course the monsters didn’t follow us home?  They didn’t did they? …I think I’ll check one more time under the bed just to make sure.

Yes, scary stories are fun to listen to, the reasons are personal and individual, but when shared with a collective group there is nothing more satisfying. “It was a dark and stormy night…”  BOO!

 


Mitchell O'Rear has been telling professionally since 1987, although if you ask his mom she will tell you he has been telling stories all of his life.

Since 1993 Mitchell has been directing and producing "Ghosts in the Gardens" at Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida with an annual audience upward of 1,800 attendees. Oh, and he loves scaring people!!