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UK artiste turns traditional storytelling into performance

  • Artist brings stories through performances in India
  • There is a renaissance of storytelling in past 20 years
storytelling to performance
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Sarah Rundle, who performed recently at 'Kathakar', a festival of international storytellers, says she loves discovering lost stories and then retelling them in front of an audience.

"I absolutely love to tell stories. Children are the same everywhere, give them a good story and they are hooked," Rundle said.  The scientist-turned-actor likes to weave complex tales in simplest form with unexpected twits while delivering a performance on the stage.  "It is the intimacy and friendliness which I witness in an audience while performing which attracts me the most. Telling stories from different cultures including India has been a wonderful experience wherever I have performed," she told PTI.

Rundle has been performing for ten years now and her repertoire includes folk tales from Britain and Ireland, stories from the Middle East and the Silk Road, along with yarns from Finland.  During her performance here at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts she told stories such as 'Alexander the Great' and Palestinian folktales from book 'Speak Bird Speak Again'.

Explaining the importance of storytelling in today's era, Rundle said, "Humans usually find it easy to receive information if it is told in the form of a story, it is quite utilitarian."  She has uncovered a wealth of long-forgotten stories; many originally recorded by Victorian collectors which have been buried in dusty archives until now.  "Possibly the oldest art form, storytelling opens windows into other times and cultures. There has been a renaissance of storytelling in past 20 years. It is being widely performed in schools, pubs and cafes," she said.

 According to her, being a good listener with a sense of telepathy make for a good storyteller.  "Although it is important to pick up a story which is really interesting but you also have to sense the mood of the audience otherwise they will lose interest. There has to be passion and enthusiasm on both the sides of the stage," Rundle said.

 When asked what is the difference between a theatre performance and storytelling, she said, "You have to 'pretend' to the audience as in acting while performing for theatre but here you are actually talking to the audience and trying to get
their reactions.

"There is no deliverance of dialogues as such because a good storyteller will never learn stories by heart."  The artiste, who is on a tour here will be performing next in Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai.

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