My background is theatre, Ecole Jaques Lecoq, and my first encounter with storytelling is through Peter Brook, coming back from Africa. Where they were doing what Brook was calling “carpet show”. They were playing the characters and telling an African tale called: “The bone”. That was a big shock because that was exactly what I wanted to do.
So, I did what Peter Brook had done, in my company with a few actors and a musician.
I chose three folktales and we started some carpet shows.
At that time, I met Bruno de La Salle. He had started his idea of being a storyteller, he was alone. When he saw my company perform, he said, this is not storytelling, this is theatre. If you want to know what storytelling is, let us work together. Therefore, my company and me we joined him and we created the Clio, which was Bruno de La Salle’s company, and we worked together for seven years, doing these long epics that lasted the whole nights for the French Radio and the Avignon festival. (Storyteller7, 2019)
I started storytelling, really, in 1981. But the first time I encountered the phrase ‘Storytelling’ and the idea of a ‘Storyteller’, was in 1978. That was through a book of stories from Haiti collected by Diane Wolkstein called “The Magic Orange Tree,” (given to me by one of my mentors, PL Travers, the author of Mary Poppins). What really struck me about that book were the descriptions of the storytellers, old women, children, young men… everyone, telling stories on the verandah at night. It was at the moment there that I realized that “Storytelling” could exist. Up to that moment I had really never conceived of a “Storyteller”. The idea was completely new. It was the first time I recognized something called storytelling … (Storyteller11, 2018)
Som nevnt, kom mange av fortellerne fra teatret og brakte med seg muntlig fortellerkunst inn i sine nærmiljøer:
When we returned to Ireland, I wondered whether there might be an audience for stories in Dublin? I knew there was an audience for live traditional music. But I had never heard of stories being included. But I had a sense that the two were connected. It was summertime. Dublin was the European city of culture, and there was a little bit of money going around. We went to the office and they gave us a small amount of money for posters. We programmed four weeks of concerts each Saturday evening, with anybody I could think of; anybody I thought who might be able to tell a story. It was to be music and stories together. The title of the November with the title “So what is the Story?”. At that time in Dublin , instead of saying ‘hello’, people would say “what’s the story?”. Then they would know what we were talking about. We booked a music venue, and I remember saying to the barmen: Whatever you do, be quiet, you cannot serve drinks when the telling is going on, because people will not listen. Word got around and people came, there were queues, people came and there was not a word out of them listening to the stories, but as soon as the music would start, they would begin talking and chatting. That was a wakeup call. There was an audience and there was an interest. So that is how it really started. November became the time that we would focus on the stories, which is a good time, because it is before Christmas. In the olden times, the tradition says, in Ireland, that storytelling would take place from November to May. (Storyteller6, 2019)
Andre generasjons fortellere oppdaget fortelling gjennom andre fortellere:
It was when I first met António Fontinha (Portuguese Storyteller). Then I knew about storytelling as an artistic practice, a professional activity and above all as a tool I could use in my work as a librarian. But I had always experienced storytelling: at home there were always people telling stories, specially my grandmother. (Storyteller17, 2019)
Og andre generasjon studerte med første generasjon og på den måten ble det etablert et bestemt bilde av hva muntlig fortellerkunst kunne være:
Well, I’m autodidactic, I learned for myself, and like I told it, sentence by sentence, word by word. And then I came to Ben Haggarty and not only – I had no more stories to tell, because I could tell the stories only in German, and English people don’t understand German very well, so I had to translate the whole stories. Here it was, for me, like the Seven-League Boots. So, I learned not to translate a story, but to go with the feelings and with my inner film. To tell this, and to try to find other words to describe something, because I don’t have the word in English. So, I learned to feel the stories more than to tell them word by word. (Storyteller18, 2019)
Tredje generasjons fortellere ble i sin tur opplært av andre generasjonsforteller. Og med tredje generasjon blir læringen og dannelsen mer institusjonalisert:
In Hannover I did a training with Jana Raille, it was a little bit over one year every month for four days. But she is not doing this in that way anymore. ../../.. After that I met Kristin [Wardetzky] and we were telling stories in the same place and afterwards she said “you should come to Berlin”. And I went to Berlin so I also did the training at the UdK. Before that, I also did a week training with Suse [Weisse] and I was always looking for training, I was in Remscheid, I was always looking for some training when I started different ideas. (Storyteller15, 2019)
Gjennom å se på muntlig fortellerkunst som en samtidens uttrykksform, kan man se at det utvikler se gen form for system som leder til «skoler». Disse skolene forfekter en diskurs og en ide om hva muntlig fortellerkunst skal være.
Selv har jeg en broket bakgrunn, men jeg tror denne bakgrunnen var de riktige stegene mot å bli forteller. Å vokse opp på et lite sted er å være tett på fortellinger som kommer tilsyne når man blir voksen. Jeg studerte mime i Paris, deretter teatervitenskap, så litteraturvitenskap, før jeg begynte på drama/teater, tok dramaturgi og så muntlig fortellerkunst og visste da at det var det jeg skulle drive med. Muntlig fortellerkunst samlet alt det hadde opplevd i et uttrykk med innhold som jeg selv kan kontrollere. Jeg studerte hos Ben Haggarty i et år og over fem år hadde jeg Abbi Patrix som en mentor – begge to representerer første generasjons fortellere.
Fortelleren er gjerne en solo utøver men snakker seg inn i en kultur kontekst. Det er mye som er utrolig givende med å være forteller, en av de aspektene er at enhver ny fortelling fordrer en ny kunnskap, man blir aldri lei av studere fortellingen og dens koder, for å se sammenhenger, perspektivere temaer og finne ny kunnskap og videreutvikle sin og andres kompetanse.